For the main titles of Univision’s new drama El Chapo, Method Studios explored how media myths distorted the Mexican drug lord’s already out-sized persona.
The new series tells the story of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was Mexico’s leading drug exporter. He was arrested in Mexico in 2014, escaped through a hole in his shower into a mile-long tunnel in 2015, and then was re-captured in 2016. He previously had been arrested and escaped in 2001 before being picked up again 13 years later. Mexico decided to extradite him to the U.S. in January right before Donald Trump was inaugurated president. Guzman, 59, will next be seen in court in New York on Friday, May 5.
Method’s New York-based team, led by creative director John Likens and lead designer Arisu Kashiwagi, outlined story beats for the sequence, then Univision archival material from both print and TV news coverage of El Chapo’s activities. They then worked to develop a look and style to illustrate the idea of El Chapo having multiple facets to his private and public personas, animating different media clips layered on top of one another that tear away to reveal new clues underneath. Overall, the 90-second sequence challenges viewers to uncover El Chapo’s true self.
“El Chapo became a larger than life persona in part due to media coverage, and we wanted to explore how he gained that level of notoriety. We were able to play around with silhouettes of the actors and a wealth of news clippings to visually navigate these questions and establish interesting juxtapositions,” said Likens.
The series premiered on Univision on April 23 and will soon be available worldwide on Netflix.
Main Title Design: Method Studios
Creative Director: John Likens
Lead Designer: Arisu Kashiwagi
Producers: Emily Schaeberle & Adrienne Mitchell
Animators: Nan Wei, Vivian Kim, Keri Moller, Damien Cho
Coordinator: Beata Calinska
Series Producer: Daniel Posada
Vice President, Story House Entertainment: Christian Gabela
President, Chief Content Officer, Fusion Media Group: Camila Jimenez Villa
Series Showrunner: Silvanna Aguirre
Post Production: Bad Idea
Associate Producer: Jason Tamasco
Post Producer: Jerry Mecca Careccio