Bernard Rose / Columbia Pictures


While at R/Greenberg L.A., Kyle Cooper directed the main title sequence for the film Immortal Beloved, starring Gary Oldman. The film traces the attempt to unravel the mystery of the intended recipient of a love letter written by Beethoven and discovered after his death— addressed only to the composer’s “immortal beloved.”

The type treatment and animation aim to unite spiritual and musical references with a sense of the unfolding puzzle in the story. We open on the death of Beethoven and his subsequent funeral, where we hear in his eulogy that “the thorns of life had wounded him deeply.” The sequence draws upon the idea of the famed but tormented composer’s release from the earthly realm. The kinetic type in the credits rises above his casket and then above the mourners, floating heavenward.

Timed to musical cues, and designed in the ebony and ivory colors of piano keys, the elegant white typography with black drop shadows is revealed a letter at a time in the main title and preceding credits, moving from left to right. The words then fade off as a block, similar to musical chords or phrases held for a moment and then released. The credits following the main title then fade up as fully formed words, again timed to the musical score.

This was also the first film to feature the Icon Productions logo, which Cooper designed for Mel Gibson for use at the head of the title sequence he designed for Braveheart. That movie came out the following year.

Main Title