Entertainment and design company Imaginary Forces (IF) recently created a charming main title sequence for the Universal Pictures' romantic comedy "Definitely, Maybe." IF creative director Karin Fong spearheaded the design effort for the opening sequence.
In the film -- written and directed by Adam Brooks and starring Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Derek Luke, Abigail Breslin and Rachel Weisz, -- Reynolds stars as Will Hayes, a 30-something Manhattan dad in the midst of a divorce when his 10-year-old daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin), starts to question him about his life before marriage. Maya wants to know absolutely everything about how her parents met and fell in love.
"From the original script, the title sequence of my film, 'Definitely, Maybe' was meant to be a fun, lyrical and original cinematic stroll through Manhattan," explains writer-director Brooks. "I had no idea what the specifics were to make this fun, lyrical and original, in fact no one did, until Karin Fong and Imaginary Forces began their collaboration with us. Besides creating a stunning sequence that works beautifully with the themes and look of the film as a whole, and designing the split frame scenes that punctuate the story, IF contributed two great visual jokes that I will forever get to take credit for. I can't wait for the opportunity to work with Karin and her gang again."
In the main titles, Will Hayes has just been served with divorce papers at his office. However, he seems unfazed as he makes his way across the city--listening to his life's soundtrack through his ear buds--to pick up Maya from school. Fong worked closely with Brooks and cinematographer Florian Ballhaus during a shoot that followed Reynolds as Hayes through the streets of Manhattan.
"Adam wanted the opening sequence to take you from the main character's office in Midtown to the school on the Upper West Side," explains Fong. "The walk is his favorite part of his week, paired with the right soundtrack; in this case, Sly & the Family Stone's 'Everyday People.' As Ryan walks in rhythm to the music, he comes across residents and tourists on the streets, as well as abstract elements that make up the city. We wanted to capture the authenticity of what happens when you're lost in a song, existing in your own bubble as you travel along."
Fong and Brooks played with various textures and shots, from dramatic wide shots of rush-hour traffic to reflections in store windows to shadows on the crosswalk.
"The opening sequence has an off-the-cuff look and impressionistic energy," continues Fong. "I like the way the frames call your attention to the little vignettes of New York City--humorous everyday moments. Adam's a New Yorker who wanted a naturalistic feel to this journey. Florian embraced grabbing all the bits and pieces of life that came our way. For us, the shoot was like experiencing life on a city street; you never know what to expect."
"Definitely, Maybe" made its world premiere last night as the opening film for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It releases in theaters on February 14.