Ezra Tucker is accomplished artist who specializes in depicting wildlife, but he got the chance to portray arguably the wildest creature of all when he was selected to create the American release poster for Godzilla 2000 (1999). At the time, Mr. Tucker was no stranger to painting movie posters, as he has created several of Hollywood’s most iconic film posters since the early 1980s. In December 2021, Mr. Tucker answered Brett Homenick’s questions about his work on the Godzilla 2000 poster.
Brett Homenick: Could you tell us a bit about your early life?
Ezra Tucker: I grew up in a poor family of eight. I spent most of my childhood drawing and creating art for my entertainment. Comics, nature, natural history, mythology, world history, and science inspired me to use my imagination and focus to create whatever I chose to do with found objects and minimal resources. Fantastic and imaginative imagery has inspired me and is reflected in my art to this day. I was a good student in school because I like to read and learn. I spent most of my time from five years of age until graduation from college doing what I do today as a professional artist, creating art.
BH: Where did grow up?
ET: Memphis, Tennessee.
BH: What were your hobbies?
ET: Reading and creating art.
BH: How did you become interested in art?
ET: From reading encyclopedias and storybooks, I would illustrate the passages from those books that I read from my point of view because many of these books did not have illustrations or pictures with the text.
BH: Did you go to college?
ET: I completed my art education at the Memphis Academy of Art [currently known as Memphis College of Art] with a BFA [Bachelor of Fine Arts] degree in advertising design.
BH: What led to your becoming a professional artist?
ET: My desire to create art and make an adequate income from my art, to live well doing something that I enjoyed doing. I did not want to have just a job but a profession that is exciting to me.
BH: How did you start painting movie posters?
ET: I acquired an art agent in Los Angeles, California, in 1983 that secured projects for me from the movie studios and ad agencies that I wanted to work with.
BH: Do you remember how you got hired to paint the Godzilla 2000 (1999) poster?
ET: Through my art agent submitting my portfolio to be considered for the project.
BH: How familiar were you with the character of Godzilla when you got the job?
ET: From watching the black and white films on TV when I was a child.
BH: Were there any instructions or guidelines for the poster?
ET: To make the painting as fantastic and dramatic as possible and include all of the imagery given to me in the composition.
BH: What kind of visual references did you have? For example, were you sent photos or the film itself to view?
ET: Photos — I did not view the film to do my art.
BH: Please describe the process of painting the poster. What kind of materials did you use?
ET: I began the project by doing three sketches on the concept. The art director chose one sketch to develop in detail. The approved drawing I then enlarged the scale requested on illustration board in pencil. I then started painting and finished the painting using acrylic paints.
BH: Did you have any inspiration from other sources when you painted the poster?
BH: How long did it take for you to paint?
ET: I do not recall.
BH: How many versions did you paint?
ET: One final painting and two color studies.
BH: When you finished painting it, what was the reaction from Sony?
ET: They were impressed and pleased with the final art.
BH: How satisfied with it were you personally?
ET: I enjoyed the project completely.
BH: What did you think of the way Sony marketed Godzilla 2000 with your poster?
ET: The marketing was done very well.
BH: Is there anything else you could share about the poster that we haven’t already covered?
BH: What did you think of Godzilla 2000 as a film?
ET: Loved it!
BH: What other movie posters have you done?
ET: The NeverEnding Story, The Ten Commandments [for the 1989 re-release of the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille epic], Tales from the Darkside[: The Movie], The Santa Clause 2, [and] Warriors of the Wind [also known as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind].