Movie Article

One 'Catch'y Sequence

The story behind ''Catch Me'''s retro opening credits -- The cool animation at the beginning of Speilberg's cat-and-mouse ''Catch Me if You Can'' came from a French duo of artists

Catch Me if You Can | STAMP OF APPROVAL It took two animators over four months to complete ''Catch Me if You Can'''s stylish opening sequence
STAMP OF APPROVAL It took two animators over four months to complete ''Catch Me if You Can'''s stylish opening sequence

SUBJECT The eye-grabbing opening title sequence in Steven Spielberg's ''Catch Me if You Can,'' with a cartoon figure of Tom Hanks in pursuit of Leonardo DiCaprio, set to John Williams' jazzy score.

BACK STORY Paris-based animators Olivier Kuntzel, 41, and Florence Deygas, 37, created a look that suited the '60s-set story. ''Spielberg wanted a sequence in the spirit of that '60s era, like Saul Bass,'' says Kuntzel, referring to the legendary designer credited with distinctive openers (and posters) for 1958's ''Vertigo'' and 1959's ''Anatomy of a Murder.'' Over four months, the duo pressed hundreds of ministamps of each character's body parts onto paper, cut them out ''South Park''-style, and scanned them to move along a computer-animated backdrop. Amazingly, they hadn't seen any of the film before starting. ''We read the book and decided on some images,'' recalls Deygas.

CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE ''A sequence like this gives you a visual overture,'' says ''Catch Me'' producer Walter Parkes. ''It used to be a staple in Hollywood filmmaking.''

Originally posted Jan 20, 2003 Published in issue #692-693 Jan 24, 2003 Order article reprints