Great directors can be so associated with their most famous creations that they exist as hybrid creatures in the minds of film fans.
Steven Spielberg can’t exist without images of E.T., Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park imposing themselves on us, forming an alien-dinosaur-archaeologist sporting a fedora and a beard.
George Lucas will always be a Jabba sporting light saber creation with a raspy voice wearing Star Wars robes.
James Cameron is a blue Na’vi in a Terminator body.
The sculptures of Mike Leavitt take 16 directors and smashes them together with their most famous characters to create something both weirdly beautiful and pleasantly familiar. Leavitt calls these creations King Cuts.
On his he explains their origin:
Great film directors get cut up. They take pains with the details, story, money and sacrifices to their vision. Their body succumbs to the pressure. So Mike Leavitt carved Tarantino, Kubrick, Scorsese and more physically consumed by their work. Hitchcock, Coppola and others are cut from blocks of wood like directors cut a take or reel. There’s a risk of mistakes with every slice. Directors commit to a story at every cut. Leavitt unmasks wizards behind the camera like Spielberg and David Lynch to get a taste of their own medicine. ‘King Cuts’ are totems of satire and devotion to the 16 best storytellers ever.
All artist quotes come from Leavitt’s website.
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Kathryn Bigelow is the Oscar. She is the only female of many regards. Fortunately she’s safely cacooned in a Point Break surfboard. Carrying the Zero Dark Thirty gun that killed Bin Laden might also help. She protects herself on all fronts. Even her Hurt Locker bomb suit insulates her from the masculinity surrounding her on all sides.
Batman is carved in the heart of Tim Burton. He’s gripped in the throws of a Beetlejuice crawling up his jugular veins. He entrusts his platforms to carry him along Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. It’s hard to tell how it’ll end. He can’t even get around his own Scissorhands.
His blockbusters engulf the body of James Cameron down to his bones. His skeleton is mechanized in Terminator machinery. The Titanic weight of Winslet’s ‘French girls’ envelops his pose. He blows her whistle for salvation. He struts her heart of the sea. Yet he’s so swayed that his own gender yields to the Titanic. His is the Alien of his own doing. An Avatar fallen to Earth, Cameron is truly a bizarre do-gooder.
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola suffers the wounds of his Godfather. His Rumble Fish, dog tags and combat boots guard him from the Apocolypse Now. Resting in his vampire fingers, The Outsiders switchblade morphs into a Dracula razor. Shotgun shells are missing. Something is responsible for tearing him apart.
The Birds metamorphosize Hitchcock. He is no longer just a portly fellow with a razor sharp sense of humor. He’s nothing more than a smoking crow. Poor Alfred. He tries so hard. Yet always falls into the same mysterious trap.
The Shining transgenders Kubrick. His entire identity, even his humanity is relinquished. Hal’s all seeing eye welds itself to his chest. He is a female robot. He’s the ancient ape predating 2001. He grips to reality with an AK-47 and jelly donut stolen from a Full Metal Jacket. Clockwork Orange costuming veils him from the world in vain. Nothing can stop Stanley from drifting off into the surreal void.
George Lucas is encapsulated by Star Wars. It’s his entire world. His light saber shines the harsh light of day. Jabba the Hutt fills his skin. An American Graffiti gang tattoos his chest. If there’s no way out there’s no reason to suffer. He likes his world of satiation. He’s obviously well fed. Don’t try to take anything from the George. You might suffer at the end of an Indiana Jones whip.
David Lynch can’t fend off the growths. The Elephant Man is winning. His vitals grasp for air with a Blue Velvet oxygen mask. He lights two cigarettes. He’s Wild at Heart like that. He’ll leave chance to the wind. A flip of a card decides his destiny like the Twin Peaks of fate. He pins his hopes on a one eyed Jack.
Hayao Miyazaki is a quiet forest spirit. He serves Princess Mononoke well. His signature apron is a ghostly shroud. It protects him from getting Spirited Away by a river dragon with no face. Luckily the loyal Totoro sits atop his back. The legs of Howl’s Moving Castle can only carry him so far.
Citizen Kane imprisons Orson Welles in a vehicle going nowhere. He is his own ticking time bomb with a slight Touch of Evil. He travels to and fro on splindly alien legs in his own tormented War of the Worlds. A snow globe and sled provide no respite, only more opportunity to encase himself in his own creations.
The Passion of the Christ possesses Scorsese. He martyrs himself with the guns of Goodfellas and Taxi Driver. He is the Raging Bull of curse words. Take or be taken. Scorsese is a fighter.
E.T. overwhelms Spielberg. His gentle alien body grows less innocent raptor claws from his normally docile fingertips. He’s lost in a Jurassic Park. His shoes only take him Back to the Future. An Indiana Jones medallion allows him passage to where he needs to go. Home. That’s the ultimate hope of Spielberg.
Spike Lee is really trying to Do The Right Thing. Malcom X and Mars Blackmon medallions shroud him. His basketball is Bamboozled by a new minstrel show. Race relations and his obsession with the NBA collide at his fingertips. He’s a fearless warrior despite his stature. Underestimate the Spike at your own peril.
Tarantino is ripped to shreds by his own gore. He has failed to Kill Bill. He’s torn himself apart with an Inglorious Basterds bat. He is Django Unchained from peaceful tranquility. He scarred his own runaway ‘r’. His Reservior Dogs severed his ear, left dangling for all to see amidst his pile of entrails. Who knows how he’s still standing. The weapons of a Pulp Fiction seal his doom.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox dazzles Wes Anderson with the charm of a Bottle Rocket. He hastens to sew a Rushmore shield across his chest. His Bindi dot keeps him from being a Darjeeling Limited. The fox woos a Royal Tenenbaum hawk. A turntable born of a Moonrise Kingdom plays a broken record of repetitious motifs. His is a Life Aquatic, awash in words, rapidly told backstories and straight-on headshots. It’s hard not to love the fox.
Woody Allen is Bananas. Annie Hall’s lobsters present him with a phallic challenge. It drives him nuts. Woody wants to be more than just a giant woody. At least his head is in the right place.
Let me know your favorites in the comments section.