To bring the art of Candyman protagonist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) to life, Universal Pictures had to enlist a host of multi-talented artists and creators — and now, audiences can get an inside look into their process. Universal has released a new featurette on the art and artists of Candyman ahead of its August 27 release, showcasing the hard work and thought that went into every piece of the tragedy-soaked world of the film.
The new featurette highlights the painters brought together not only to create work for Anthony, but also to play his contemporaries, real-life artists creating under fictional names for the film. Each drew on the themes they saw in the story of Candyman — specifical themes of “devolution,” as writer-director Nia DaCosta calls it, representing Anthony’s fall from grace and his slow psychological unwinding at the hands of Candyman. Having used the story of Candyman to his advantage as a painter — to propel himself further in the Chicago art world — Anthony soon discovers that he has made a grave mistake, summoning the ghosts of something never to be tampered with.
“It seemed critical that there was actual artists in the film, and works that had social relevancy,” said producer Ian Cooper. The film draws together work from artists like Arnold Kemp, Cameron Spratley, and Sherwin Ovid, who is responsible for some of the more horrifying portraits Anthony paints in the film once his sanity begins to slip.
It was important for DaCosta to represent Anthony’s downfall through his work, displaying the ways that our psyche can manifest in the art we make, which is ultimately a part of ourselves put down on paper (or canvas): “I really wanted to show his early work, and then the work that he makes in the film — how he’s being changed not only through his own search and journey, but also maybe by demon ghosts.”
Candyman also stars Teyonah Parris and Colman Domingo, with a script from DaCosta, Jordan Peele, and Win Rosenfeld. The film premieres in theaters everywhere on August 27. Check out the new featurette below: