In March, the James Bond outing No Time to Die became the first major Hollywood film to be delayed due to the Coronavirus. Originally set for an April release, the studio moved it to November—which bought UK illustrator and designer Matt Needle a bit more time.
A few weeks before the original premiere, Needle had set himself to the task of designing a poster for each Bond film leading up to the 25th installment.
Today, with the release of his latest, Moonraker, we checked in with him to see how the project is progressing.
What made you decide to do this series?
I usually design a series for the Oscar nominees every year (since 2014), which is about eight to 10 posters in a couple of weeks. I’ve been a huge James Bond fan since I was a little kid and have always wanted to design something Bond-related, but didnt know where to focus. So I decided as a side project and experimental design project, I would create a poster series for all the films (including No Time To Die).
Have you taken on any major series like this in the past?
I’ve done some for Hitchcock—but that was just Vertigo, Psycho and North By Northwest. I also have worked on stuff for Disney & Marvel releases through Poster Posse, of which I’m a member.
Does the amount of Bond films make it daunting?
Not really. It makes it fun. I’ll be sad when I’m nearing the end of the project. It’s kept me sane since I’ve been locked down in my home due to the coronavirus. With a lot of my jobs being put on hold or canceled, this is one thing I can focus on each week.
Are there any Bond films you dislike … and is designing posters for those more challenging than the ones you love?
I’m not a fan of Never Say Never Again, and I don’t consider that canon, so I wont be tackling it. [Ed. Note: Read about its fascinating history, and why it falls outside the official slate of 25 films, here.] I’m also not a fan of Die Another Day (which I don’t think I’ve rewatched in about 10 years) so we’ll see when I get to that. The ones I’ve worked on so far are the films I grew up on—I videotaped them from the TV and rewatched them over and over again, so I’m fond. Sure, there are some that don’t hold up well (Moonraker) and some elements which don’t sit well, but with all the flaws they are still a strong series of films with a lot of inspiration to draw from.
Was No Time to Die being postponed actually a blessing in disguise because it gives you more time to work on the series?
Massive blessing. I was foolish to think I could’ve done a whole series of 25 posters in about three weeks. Now that I’ve got more time I’m less rushed and the designs and concepts are definitely stronger. I actually wouldn’t mind going back and changing a few of the early designs I did when I was on a tighter schedule (namely Dr. No and Thunderball, as they are the ones I deem weakest in my series).
Are you eyeing any other big series to work on after Bond?
This is a huge passion project for me. I’m not sure if there is another film series I love as much. But maybe more Hitchcock or Kubrick films. Potentially a series of David Lynch posters.
For more from the series as it progresses, follow Needle on Instagram.