You probably know Richard Morrison's work for movies such as Batman, Brazil, High Fidelity, Enemy at the Gates, and Sweeney Todd. So we took a little trip to London to meet with the charismatic title designer, who also happens to be a fascinating character. Morrison talks title design, and takes us on a grand tour around the th1ng studio and to his favorite coffee shop in Soho, the wonderful Bar Italia, where he's made a lot of movie deals over the years.
watchthetitles.com is a Submarine Channel website dedicated to title sequence design, featuring a growing collection of title sequences, making of stories, and video interviews with designers.
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Forget the Film, Watch the Titles
In the early 1970's, Morrison was a young and ambitious graphic designer working at a production studio in London. Here he ran into title design legend Maurice Binder. Binder asked him to assist him with the production of one of the James Bond title sequences. This led Morrison to pursue movie title design. Morrison got his first "lucky break," as he calls it, in 1979, when director Franc Roddam asked him to design the main title for Quadrophenia.
Morrison's body of work includes over one hundred title sequences for film and TV. Notable directors he has worked with (often more than once) include, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Jean-Jacques Annaud, David Lean, Stephen Frears, Kenneth Branagh, Ridley Scott, and Nicolas Roeg.
Mid-summer of 2010, we took the train to London to visit Morrison at the th1ng headquarters in London for an interview. Morrison is a fascinating character to talk to, and a great storyteller. We shot in five different locations, such as the roof terrace of th1ng's office on Wardour Street, which reminded us of the moody images of Victorian London in the Sweeney Todd title sequence. In the afternoon we strolled the streets of London Soho, where Morrison has lived and worked for many years. He seemed to know everyone and constantly stopped to shake hands with people. We rounded up the interview at Bar Italia, an illustrious coffee shop in Soho, where the walls are clad with old pictures of Italian movie stars and where they serve the most amazing frappuccino's and cakes. It's also a place where Morrison often meets with directors to discuss projects.
This interview is the first in a brand-new series 9 video interviews with main title designers, filmed in 2010. These interviews are part of the “Forget the Film, Watch the Titles” 2 DVD-set, which is available from our shop.