Netflix’s popular limited series “Beef” starring Ali Wong and Steven Yeun has been living in the streaming platform’s Top 3 series to watch since its’ release. The comedy-drama series follows two strangers, who get into a road rage incident that brings utter chaos into their lives. There’s so much to unpack, but today we take a moment to highlight the artist and actor who’s masterpieces inspired the episodic title cards. Read more inside.
The many twists and turns make it fun for the miniseries creator and director Lee Sung Jin to keep viewers invested along the way. One of the most interesting ways that “Beef” moves Amy’s and Danny’s revenge plot along is the intention behind each episode’s opening title card.
“When I prepared the PowerPoint pitch for buyers, I wanted a very bombastic title card to catch everyone’s attention. I had loved the 16th-century painting ‘A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms‘ for some time, and I felt the look and themes of the painting fit the mood of the show,” Lee told IndieWire. The director planned to use classic paintings in the public domain for all 10 episodes to help portray a sense of “bombast and the subversive glee of puncturing it.” Lee came across a better idea working on set.
“David Choe, who plays Isaac, suggested I use his paintings,” Lee added. “He stopped showing his work publicly over a decade ago, so he had hundreds of paintings no one had ever seen.”
The title cards appear abruptly between each episode, but still make way to visually convey how and why these characters are humanly flawed. Each card feels like a masterpiece you might bear witness to in a fabulous art museum, where you stare for hours trying to dissect its meaning. In “Beef,” they use a stark font over the beautiful imagery to add context to the abstract nature of each piece.
“He graciously allowed me to pick the ones I felt fit the episodes the best,” Lee shared.
The opening title cards are the foundation to the show’s peculiar culmination of chaos, comedy and character. Choe’s paintings perfectly depict the mood Lee hoped to highlight throughout the series. It was the added layer fans probably didn’t take into consideration, but the true art girlies feel Lee and Choe the same.
Editorial Note: Over the weekend old audio resurfaced of Choe joking about committing sexual assault. He has since apologized saying he’s “not the best storyteller.” Read more on Bossip here.