Title designer and director Erin Sarofsky notes that the Animal Kingdom’s creators, John Wells and Jonathan Lisco, first explained the television show’s complicated dynamic. “They emphasized it being more than a family drama, describing how the humor, the Oedipal complex underlying the characters’ relationships, and the complexity of each individual character—including the tension, love and codependency they all share—impacts all aspects of the lives portrayed in their series,” Sarofsky says.
With just 60 seconds to explore these fascinating relationships, Chicago-based production agency Sarofsky used the tattooing process that the show’s matriarch, Smurf—played by actress Ellen Barkin—endures as a powerful metaphor, interweaving this with scenes distilling her boys’ childhoods and their transitions to manhood. Jarring imagery intentionally juxtaposes emotions with adult sexuality and masculinity. Codirector and lead artist at Sarofsky, Duarte Elvas, sees the piece as portraying a memory, “with all its nonlinear narrative qualities.”
“I love how the tattoo story threads together flashbacks and flash-forwards. They evoke different sensations and metaphors, ultimately reflecting all the characters and their relationships,” Elvas says. Along with the tremendous artistry required to produce the live-action elements, equal amounts of passion and energy went into the opening’s post-production craftsmanship. “I admire where Erin and her team affected the footage with a grainy, ‘stumble’ effect," says editor Josh Bodnar. And it goes without saying that Academy Award–winning musician, composer, producer and audio engineer Atticus Ross created music that adds a dynamic audio component to the opening’s theme of juxtaposition.