EW sits down with the movie poster artist who has done work for ''Star Wars,'' ''Indiana Jones,'' and more

By Tom Russo
May 28, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

It seems illustrated movie posters have become a lost art these days, judging by all the photo-based one-sheets littering multiplexes. But if so, no one’s telling veteran poster artist Drew Struzan. His mural-like Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace poster is typical of his work, which, over the years, has made regular clients of filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Indeed, Struzan has helped put a face on the Indiana Jones and Back to the Future trilogies, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and, of course, Star Wars (and more than 150 other films). And even though the computer advances of the ’90s effectively killed the illustration boom of the ’80s, Lucas has kept Struzan busy crafting a succession of Star Wars and Indy book covers as well as the triptych posters for 1997’s Special Edition rereleases.

”At this point, George is a real fan and definitely requests Drew by name,” says Lucasfilm licensing head Howard Roffman. ”His style really captures the appeal of Star Wars, that combination of adventure and romanticism.”

Like Lucas, Struzan is also content to remain a couple of steps removed from Hollywood. In his case, that doesn’t mean a huge Northern California ranch but a cozy Pasadena studio — and he maintains that the money he makes selling his originals far outweighs his paychecks. But whatever the rewards, he says he’s only doing what illustrators like Norman Rockwell would be doing if they were alive and working today: ”I’m selling movies, yes. But if I can do it with art, with beauty, in a way that reaches people and touches them…that’s what makes me happy.”