The Great Showdowns in Film: An Interview w/ Artist Scott C.

David and Goliath. Hamilton and Burr. Spinal Tap and mini Stonehenge?

The first two exist among the greatest showdowns in history. The latter is but a sampling of the greatest in film history as depicted in artist Scott Campbell’s collection; The Great Showdowns. Campbell, or Scott C. as he signs his work, has quickly risen as one of the most recognizable names in the expanding world of pop-art. Known for his simple style and distinctive characters, Scott C. has created a world of epic showdowns between some of films most unlikely (and often inanimate) characters.

Hollywood’s Gallery 1988, the worlds center of pop-arts emergence, has showcased many of Scott C’s works over the years with dedicated shows and entries into their popular Crazy 4 Cult collectives. Now, Gallery 1988 and Titan Books have come together to share over 140 of Scott C’s most action packed and hilarious showdowns in a book simply titled The Great Showdowns.

Complete with a forward by Scott C. fan and collector Neil Patrick Harris, this colorful collection has something quite literally for every movie fan. Whether you’re an Amblin fan with a desire to see ET vs. a Speak and Spell, a Janus Films fanatic hoping to see the Knight from Seventh Seal vs. a chess playing Death, or an action fan who can find the humor in a barefoot John McClane vs. a floor full of smiling stick-figure shards of glass, Campbell’s art will fill you with a sense of reminiscent joy.

To better understand the mind of this pop-art visionary, I asked Scott C. to share what goes into selecting and creating his Showdown pieces. You could call this Hey you Geeks vs. Scott Campbell.

Hey You Geeks: Why Showdowns? Of all the movie related themes you could create around, what made you land on Showdowns as your inspiration?

Scott C: I suppose that showdowns are the moments that stay with me the most. All movies handle confrontations very differently and it fascinates me how much time they give to some of them. In the Spaghetti Westerns, you have a million shots back and forth and they last forever and just build to a crazy kind of funny crescendo. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, I love how long and drawn out moments like the apes touching the monolith last. That moment in Raiders when Indy shows down with the dude holding the sword and just ends up shooting him,; I dig that resolve. I love all of those moments the most. Those bits of tension where the two forces just stare each other down. I enjoy painting these moments just standing there and smiling at each other because I just like seeing them all together chilling.

HYG: Of all of the showdown pieces you’ve created, which is your favorite and why does that one hold the most significance to you?

SC: Well, my favorite showdown is not from a film that is at the top of my list. It’s from the film Ghost starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. The showdown depicts Patrick and Demi holding each other tenderly and staring down with a little clay pot on a pottery wheel. And the clay pot is smiling. It’s my favorite because it is just so silly and also so sexy. That was a racy moment when the film first came out, but if you imagine that little clay pot as a living dude enjoying the sexy massage, you get some extra good vibes. I like the showdowns with smiling faces on objects the most. So yeah, I enjoyed that film, but it’s not living on my DVD shelf.

HYG: What do you consider the most obscure entry in the book, the one people might ask the most about?

SC: I think I get the most questions about the black and white showdown of the man in shorts and the woman with the big breasts. Which is of course from Russ Meyer’s film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! It is the only Russ Meyer film that I have done, but since every film he makes stars enormous breasted women, I suppose another one of them will make an appearance in the showdowns someday. That is my favorite of his films though. Tura Satana is pretty rad looking.

HYG: Ever consider doing a series on TV Showdowns? If so, what showdowns might fans expect to see?

SC: I have done special showdown series’ in the past, like a group of 8 bit video game showdowns. I have done a series of LOST showdowns for a show at Gallery 1988. That was a real fun time. I would totally do more TV showdowns, but holy moly that opens a huge can of worms. So many possibilities. I am sticking with films for this current Great Showdowns project. But if the need arises for TV showdowns? I shall step up to it.

HYG: In your Han Solo vs. Greedo showdown, who shoots first?

SC: Well, I look more at the moment prior to the shooting when both dudes are really considering their options. My Han and Greedo are actually enjoying themselves and savoring the moment together before a decision on shooting needs to be made. Maybe a moment of realization between the two of them that they are both wearing vests.

HYG: What motivated your choices in some of the more humorous entries in the book? i.e. Why Zoolander vs. a gas pump instead of say Zoolander v. Mugatu, or why the kid from Jurassic Park against the electric fence instead of dinosaur?

SC: There are really so many moments in each film that could be used for showdowns, but sometimes the less obvious ones are more enjoyable. That gasoline fight in Zoolander has to be one of my favorite moments in film history. It is the moment that stuck with me, so that is the one I wanted to depict. Jurassic Park has a million memorable moments because everyone knows it so well, so that is a good candidate for some more obscure scenes like the boy and the fence. John McClane versus Hans would have been a fine showdown for Die Hard, but McClane versus the smiling shards of glass is funnier I think. Aside from Hans long slow motion fall which I also very much enjoyed.

HYG: What are you taking on next…your next showdown in life? Scott C. vs…?

SC: Scott C vs. a children’s picture book about tacos… is the next project i am tackling over here. It will be the first book that I will write and illustrate, so I’m excited. It’s a very simple story, but sometimes those are the hardest. Knowing how to simplify. Maybe I’ll just make everyone standing and smiling at tacos. Just page after page of that. Simple. Simple times.

By Tony Nunes

Tony is a geek of many passions. He is a twice produced Screenwriter who loves writing about films just as much as he loves writing films themselves. His work has appeared in print in GeekDad, Starlog and Fangoria and he currently writes and talks about all manners of Geek Culture on the "Hey You Geeks" podcast which he hosts at Sound On Sight.

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