Scenes from an old man’s life are laid out in a series of beautifully rendered charcoal drawings in Emmy-winning designer Arisu Kashiwagi’s main titles for Apple TV Plus’ The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, starring Samuel L. Jackson. The series is based on the best-selling novel by Walter Mosely, who also executive produces.
In the series, Jackson plays Grey, a 91-year-old man stricken with dementia. When he is offered an experimental drug, he takes it in an effort to at least temporarily reclaim his memories to help solve the murder of his great grand-nephew.
From the designer’s website, Arisu.TV: “Inspired by the idea of memories as noisy secrets locked behind a door, we envisioned this title sequence as an illustrated journey inside Ptolemy’s chaotic mind where fragments of his memories are rendered as unfinished sketches. Agitated, rough charcoal strokes reveal pieces of the image, whether it is something based in reality or one of his dreamy visions. These sketches oscillate between lucidity and ambiguity as certain areas are missing or effaced as if drawn by a delirious hand that wants to understand reality.”
Each sketched scene includes symbols from Grey’s life, such as a lantern representing truth, a gun meaning violence or hands grasped together to indicate love.
The sketches were hand-drawn by charcoal artists Riad and Thomas Cian. They were then passed on to the animation team, led by director Eric Demeusy and his team at Los Angeles-based creative studio R79 Digital, to add motion and fluidity using a hybrid of cel and 2D/3D digital animation, again according to Arisu.TV.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey debuted March 11 on Apple TV Plus.
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Client: Apple TV Plus
Executive Producers: Diane Houslin, David Levine, Walter Mosley, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Eli Selden, Ramin Bahrani
Post producer: Catherine Farrell
CD/lead designer: Arisu Kashiwagi
Illustrators: Riad, Thomas Cian, Arisu Kashiwagi
Producer: Anna Kim
Animation: R79 Digital
Animation director/lead animator: Eric Demeusy
3D animator: Bhakti Patel
Cel animator: Mikhail Pakhomov, Stephanie Simpson
Animator: Cody Courmier
Editor: Rachel Ambelang
Producer: Dmitry Fitisov
Music: Craig DeLeon