North American movie posters are usually pretty boring. Having left behind the days of hiring artists to paint or illustrate lavish images based on the film’s characters and plot, we mostly see variations on the same few design templates, covered with the same old fonts. In Ghana, though, movie posters are largely colorful, often over-the-top paintings of people kicking ass and looking fierce amidst creative representations of the subject’s storyline—and lots of explosions. In other words, they absolutely rule.
Luckily, for those interested in how these posters are made, Conan O’Brien stopped by one of their creator’s workshops as part of his show’s visit to the country, both to introduce this highly specific art form to his audience and unveil the bloody, musclebound advertisement for his program we didn’t know we needed until just now.
After explaining a bit about what makes Ghanaian movie posters unique, Conan heads to artist Daniel Anum Jasper’s studio to show off some of the work—like a painting for Something’s Gotta Give featuring two furious-looking warriors with axe and sword and a Jackie Chan with “a six pack on [his] neck.” Noting that Jasper doesn’t need to see every movie he paints a poster for, Conan says he commissioned a painting based on his show despite the artist knowing nothing about it (or him).
The result is a breathtaking depiction of a frighteningly-muscled Conan engaged in deadly, shirtless combat with an angry bird and Andy Richter happily posing with a pistol in one hand and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s pencil-stuffed severed head (based on Conan’s mug) dripping blood around him. “I would see this movie,” Conan says. “I’m going to take what you have painted and now I’m going to make the movie.” The clip shifts to a grimy trailer for this film, showing Andy and the evil bird creating a homicidal Eisenhower mug creature and, between shoot-outs and explosions, a buff Conan fighting for his life.
Thankfully, between the poster and the movie trailer, Conan now has the advertisements he needs to really pull in viewers who may have missed what he has to offer. No more will they wrongly assume that the late night talk show had more to do with talking to celebrities and airing funny sketches than it does with fighting giant birds and friendly co-hosts gleefully decapitating long-dead presidents.
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