Star Wars!

For the love of the force…A Star Wars fan convention.

star-wars

Back in the summer of 2015 we were approached by Carl Whiteley to get involved in a large Fan Convention called ‘For the Love of the Force’.

We were asked to recreate a troop of Ewoks from Return of the Jedi, Cantina band members and Greedo. We were also asked to recreate Bib Fortuna with Alan Ruscoe who played it in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

Because of our Academy and what it stands for, I wanted to bring in students who have come through our doors and have impressed me with there quality, so I brought along Brogan Sharp, Anna McIntrye and Laura Rosemary Phillipson to help myself and my partner, Justyna Harrison build the characters needed for the event which happened on the 4-6th December in Manchester.ewok-star-wars-harrison
Justyna over saw the build of the Ewoks (we made 8 in total) Justyna sculpted one of the characters and we moulded him in fibreglass. Each of the Ewoks were produced in a soft foam which Justyna painted and furred each character to make them individual, She handmade all the costumes for the Ewoks too.

Brogan was responsible for sculpting the Cantina & Greedo heads. She moulded them in Crystacal R plaster and ran them in Latex, Brogan along with Laura seamed and painted them, We had to make 3 Cantina heads and 2 Greedo masks for the Convention. Anna sculpted the hands for the characters. It was a great job all round getting these characters made by my Ex Students and they all worked together as a team which is great to see.

I was responsible to recreating Bib Fortuna for the event. I originally sculpted and applied him when I worked for Nick Dudman as part of his crew on the Phantom Menace back in 1997 when they shot this film. It was great to redo Alan’s make up again but this time we used silicone instead of the Foam latex we used on the Phantom Menace.shaune-harrison-bib-fortunabib-fortuna-harrison-stagebib-fortuna-makeup-applicationbib-fortuna-jabba-the-hut
We brought Alan over to the Academy and we lifecasted him again, and using reference images from both the Episode 1 character and also from return of the Jedi, I sculpted him over a 2 week period. Along with Brogan (who sculpted & Moulded the Tentacles) we ran all the pieces in Pro-Gel 10 silicone. The Tentacles were run in a soft foam because of the weight issues of having them in silicone.

It was such a fun event to be a part of, seeing all our Ewoks in the Endor set, the creature masks up in the cantina Bar and Alan walking around as Bib Fortuna in the event was very cool.

Roll on 2016.

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… – Working on Star Wars : Episode 1

A long time ago…

…in a studio near Watford England I worked on a film called Mortal Kombat Annihilation which Nick Dudman came in to run the creature effects. While we were working on that film at Leavesden studios, Nick said he had a meeting with a producer about an upcoming film set in a galaxy far far away…

When Nick finally told us what it was, we flipped! It was Star wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace!!!!!!! (yes we all know how hated Jar Jar Binks was but remember this was the first Star Wars film since Jedi, and the creatures in Jedi made me want to make monsters!).

About a week after Nick got the confirmation about Star Wars, myself and the rest of the Mortal Kombat crew headed off to Thailand to shoot the rest of the film for the following 10 weeks…To be honest it was hard trying to keep focused on Mortal Kombat when Nick was back in the UK prepping Star Wars.

I remember the day we started on Star Wars which was March 1997 because it was when the Special edition of the original film came out and the film crew were treated to a special showing of the 1977 updated classic!

The creature workshop was such a great place to be, we had loads of the original creatures from Jedi that we cleaned up and used in the background as well as reproducing newer versions of these characters. I’d sculpted quite a few Aliens from Jabba’s palace to fill out the background scenes. At one point George Lucas had asked Nick if his creature crew wanted to design a few Jedi council characters and one of my designs got picked. I designed and Applied SAESEE TIIN. Seeing this character sat in the Jedi Council scene was pretty cool as we got to see Frank Oz perform Yoda, a lot of the crew turned up for that day to watch the Jedi Master at work!

Another iconic character I got to sculpt & apply was Bib Fortuna, it was such an honour to be handed this character as I knew that my boss Nick Dudman has made this character in Return of the Jedi.

This time Bib was played by a great actor called Alan Ruscoe, but his role was in a small scene in the senate sequence which was a shame. In the pod race you see Bib standing next to Jabba the Hutt and if you look closely you’ll see that he looks different to the images I’ve posted of Alan in the make up because this scene was shot much later on over at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) I’m not even sure who wore my Bib Fortuna prosthetics for this scene…

I also got to work on Jar Jar Binks, sculpting the body suit for the actor to wear as a lighting reference on set. Who would of thought that this character would be disliked as much as he was. A few years later while we were working on Harry Potter 1, Nick got asked to get involved in a few days of pick ups on Attack of the Clones, the main film was shot over in Australia but they did the pick ups over at Ealing Studios, So myself and a few other creature prosthetics Artists went back into Star Wars universe were we stood on vast green screens with our characters.

Its hard to believe that we started on Star Wars Episode 1 nearly 17 years ago, where did the time go!…

Til next time…who knows what galaxy I’ll be coming from then…