GREG HILDEBRANDT (PT.2) ON STAR WARS, LOTR AND MORE!!

Now that Star Wars fever is spiking, I figure it to be  the perfect time to post part 2 of my 2009 Filmfax interview with Greg Hildebrandt. What makes it perfect –aside from the terrfic cover art, of course — is the amazing tale he tells behind the creation of the iconic poster of the first film.
There are also some other pretty fascinating insights fom the man who resides in a castle in New Jersey (!). It is not that well known but the team of The Brothers Hildebrandt actually split up for a period of time, which Greg speaks of quite candidly in the interview, probably for the first time. Greg also talks about how he got involved in fine art gallery exhibitions, the J.R.R. Tolkein family estate’s opinion of Greg & Tim Hildebrandt’s Lord of the Rings artwork (LOTR) , the Hildebrandt’s own foray into the realm of fantasy storytelling, the dream fulfillment of how the brothers came to render the daily strip of Milton Caniff’s Terry & the Pirates, and a whole lot more!  All told, it’s a pretty impressive career. So much so that it could not be contained in just 2 parts. The concluding part will be posted soon, with a cover that tops them all. Seriously! That’s soon to come, so in the mean time enjoy part 2 of my interview with one of the unsung perveyors of pop culture’s landscape.
Of course, if you want something to read afterwards while waiting for the conclusion to be posted, there’s always Lee Marvin Point Blank. Until then, enjoy…

Cover of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2.

Cover of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2.

Page 1 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 1 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 2 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 2 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 3 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 3 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

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Page 4 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

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Page 5 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

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Page 6 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 7 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 7 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 8 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 8 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 9 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

Page 9 of Filmfax Greg Hildebrandt interview, Pt. 2

 

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STAR WARS ARTIST GREG HILDEBRANDT: FILMFAX INTERVIEW

With the news Star Wars film saturating the media these days, I thought it a good time to post my own EXTREMELY slight connection to the franchise. In 2009 I was contacted by Filmfax magazine publisher Mike Stein about interviewing graphic artist, Greg Hildebrandt. Together with his identical twin brother, Tim, the two of them covered the landscape of iconic pop culture imagery.
I greatly appreciated the assignment but wondered to myself, ‘Why me?” My mainstay was film as I continued researching Lee Marvin: Point Blank in hopes of publication. I discovered that the fact that I had interviewed comic book artist and childhood hero Neal Adams for the magazine, proved to be the catalyst for Mike Stein’s decision. It didn’t change the fact that I knew close to nothing about the commercial art world, let alone the Brothers Hildebrandt. The closest I ever got to familiarity with that existence was having a best friend who graduated from the Califonia Institute of the Arts. Well, the gauntlet put before me, I grabbed at it with both hands and dove into researching the work and art of the men who gained fame in the 70s with their Lord of the Rings calendars, children’s book illustrations, pin-ups and, most famously of all, the original Star Wars poster — a story by the way that’s it the next issue, which is an amazing tale in its own right!
I met with Greg in Santa Monica’s now defunct gallery/store known as Every Picture Tells a Story, with co-owner Lee Cohen in attendance. I have no idea why it no longer exists but it’s a damn shame as it housed original artwork from everybody’s favorite childhood illustrators. Focusing on the interview was difficult at best surrounded by such visual splendor. Making it worse was the fact that in the midst of the interview, actor Elliot Gould ambled into the store. That’s right, quirky 70s film icon and the original Trapper John, himself! My professionalism was sorely tested as he is, was, and remains one of my personal favorite film stars. Lee  Cohen later told me that he comes in all the time looking for artwork for his grandson.
I gritted my teeth at a missed opportunity and proceeded to interview Mr. Hildebrandt. Glad I did, too, as it turned out to be a truly wonderful experience. He’s a good guy with a great story to tell. Read it for yourself and stay tuned for Part 2 when the Star Wars connection comes into full focus. In the mean time, have you ever wondered why the likeness to the Clash of the Titans poster and Star Wars poster is strong? Read below and find out why…

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1 cover

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1 cover.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 1.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 1.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 2

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 2.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 3.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 3.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 4.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 4.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 5.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 5.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 6.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 6.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 7.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 7.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 8.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 8.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 9.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 9.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 10.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 10.

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MY INTERVIEW WITH ‘INVASION’S’ KEVIN McCARTHY

This being the birthday of the late, great Don Siegel (1912-1991), I thought it a perfect opportunity to post my interview with Kevin McCarthy (1914-2010), the star of his most famous film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Yes, Siegel did indeed direct Lee Marvin in The Killers, but that was pretty well covered in Lee Marvin Point Blank via my exclusive interviews wtih Norman Fell, Clu Gulager, Angie Dickinson and Bob Phillips. Siegel’s collaborations with Clint Eastwood may be popular, but to my mind, and many film geeks like me, Invasion was his best work. Besides, this time of the year, it certainly makes more sense to post about that film than say, Dirty Harry.
My 1999 Filmfax interview with McCarthy was no small coup as publisher Mike Stein said they had been trying to get him for years. I lucked out meeting MCarthy at a trade show in which he was hawking his new book at the time in tribute to Invasion (see inside cover below), aptly titled “They’re Here!”

McCarthy's inscription for my copy of his book reads, "To Dwayne Epstein - 'Sleep No More!' Like They're Coming! But they are skipping the fearful Epsteins!"

McCarthy’s inscription for my copy of his book reads, “To Dwayne Epstein – ‘Sleep No More!’ Like They’re Coming! But they are skipping the fearful Epsteins!”

The stars were aligned when he agreed to sit down with me a few weeks later at Musso & Franks. McCarthy was understandably wary of the interview at first, having been burned in the past. He was specific in citing writer Patricia Bosworth in her bio of McCarthy’s best friend, Montgomery Clift. According to McCarthy, she had misquoted him so badly, he vowed to never be interviewed again unless he could have approval of the content before publication. I rarely agree to such conditions but figured it was worth it. My one condition was that seeing how long and varied his career had been, no subject was off limits. The resulting article and accompanying rare photos proved so liked by the publisher, he commissioned artist Harley Brown to render the cover…my first cover article! Enjoy….

Artist Harley Brown's impressive cover image for my Kevin McCarthy interview.

Artist Harley Brown’s impressive cover image for my Kevin McCarthy interview.

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Page 1 of McCarthy

 

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Page 2 of McCarthy

 

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Page 4 of McCarthy

 

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