What better job is there to take a monster and put it in a city, surrounded by thousands of screaming people? It’s about this constant working with each other to generate the best image that we possibly can, that’s going to help the director’s vision for the story.
One of the things we were trying to work out is how you create individual creatures that look amazing, but then when they combine are able to transform into an entirely different creature that looks just as compelling. Visualizing how these beasts would meld together was our biggest challenge.
We worked very closely between costume and 3D to make sure everything lined up. Sometimes what works on a computer doesn’t necessarily work on a human form, so there was a lot of interaction between departments.
Cast from flat, acrylic molds and milled on the Workshop’s CNC machines, the suits consisted of flexible white urethane panels adhered together in full, over a base Lycra underlayer. Hansen and Costume 2IC Flo Foxworthy worked together to create a suit pattern whereby the layers would fully cover and encompass the body. Animatronics Technician Zoilo Abad designed and installed electronic components, such as lights and screens; even going so far as to create an app that could control how they worked on set. Designer William Bennett 3D modelled cadet helmets with exposed wires and connection ports, which was then manufactured by the Workshop crew.
The final result: a series of sophisticated, technically advanced suits that fitted tightly to the body much like a wetsuit; so form-fitting, in fact, that the actors journeyed to Wētā Workshop to have them custom fitted. At the conclusion of the manufacture phase, Alistair, Zoilo and Kelly flew to Sydney to assist with the costumes on set; a fantastic end to a whirlwind four months.
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