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Makeup Master Rick Baker Talks with Capone about WOLF MAN Transformation Controversy and More

Hey folks. Capone here in San Diego with a quick interview with makeup guru Rick Baker, who has signed on to what is probably his dream project, THE WOLF MAN, directed by Joe Johnson. Quint just put up a great account of the WOLF MAN panel from Comic-Con mere moments ago, and he's right when he says the footage is spectacular. One element of Quint's report seems to be the beginning stages of a controversial element to the WOLF MAN, one involving the transformation sequence(s), which he indicated were going to be CGI. I figured since I only had a few minutes with Rick, I'd just jump head first into the controversy. I opened the interview by showing Baker Quint's to-the-point memo to Universal (with Joe Johnston cc'd). Guys, if you scream loud enough about the colossal mistake, Universal will hear you. They have a legacy to uphold, and Baker is the guy to pull it off. He's already proven that with AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, WOLF, and THE HOWLING. This man knows his lupine. Jesus, the guy has won six Oscars, the first of which was for...wait for it...a werewolf movie! Go figure! Don't get us wrong, Universal, we love that this movie is being made. Please let Baker work his magic with Benicio del Toro, and all will be right in the classic horror universe. Here's Rick Baker…
Capone: Let's just get this out of the way right off the bat. You told the panel that as of right now, the werewolf transformation sequence is THE WOLF MAN is going to be CGI, you were told that. Is it true that when you were hired on for the project, you were told it would be a practical effect that you would execute? Rick Baker: I wasn't told that specifically. I was hired to do this film, and it's a film that I pursued, which I don't normally do, and I made it clear that I could and would do a transformation sequence. But the truth is there isn't much to show. I'd already covered werewolf transformations in AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, but this wasn't going to be David Naughton naked on the floor stretching out. Benicio doesn't require that much work. He's already half a fucking werewolf already with all his hair, and his jaw really does open up that much. When we first released that image of him with his mouth open and the teeth showing, everyone thought it was digitally enhanced, but it wasn't. His fucking jaw really sticks out like that. So many actors who wear fake fangs can't even get their mouths open enough to put space between the top and bottom teeth. We did borrow some from the Lon Chaney Jr. Wolfman in that we extended his bottom jaw just enough to have the lower teeth clear the upper. But this was never going to be some showcase transformation sequence. He was going to be a Wolf Man, a bit of work on his brow, a slightly bigger nose, a minor jaw extension, and a little bit more hair. Capone: But I'm assuming you'd still like a shot at doing a practical transformation scene. RB: We're ready to do it, and we have people inside the production that want us to be involved whether it's practical or CGI. I made it clear to [producer] Sean Daniel that even if they went the CGI route, I'd want to be involved. Sean has actually been great to work with and a real supporter of my process. Capone: And his response was? RB: Oh he agreed, but there are a bunch of producers and the director who all have an opinion on that. This was a troubled production from the early stages. First off, we changed directors [Mark Romanek was the original director], and there were decision make by him about the production that we had to live with, some of them were bad and some were good. And Joe Johnston was sort of dropped into the middle of things, and had to catch up in a hurry. "What movie am I making again?" [laughs] I think part of the CGI decision is simply Joe trying to make things easier on himself, so that he can make last-minute changes if he needs to. Part of the problem with CGI, and I'm definitely not saying this about Joe, is that it makes for lazy filmmaking. A director can say, "Oh, we can fix that in post." "And I'll be there saying, "But I can fix it right now for a lot less money and then you'll have it." Or a filmmaker doesn't have to worry as much about lighting and things like that. Capone: I'd heard that you saw a jaw extension CGI sequence and weren't pleased. RB: Where did you hear that? Capone: It's been a while now; I don't remember. RB: Yeah, they showed me a transformation sequence that included a jaw extension moment that really scared me. That's true. It just didn't make any sense. His jaw doesn't extend, and just because we can manipulate the image doesn't mean we have to. I don't want this to be some fucking VAN HELSING werewolf where the jaws just goes shooting down for no reason. When you see Benicio in full makeup, you'll see that his jaw just doesn't go out that much. That's why I wanted to be involved. And what I saw was more a test. We haven't actually worked on that sequence yet. Capone: That has to be such a different experience for you working on THE WOLF MAN, where you seemed to have be relegated to the sidelines as opposed to working with Eddie Murphy, who worships the ground you walk on. I'm sure you saw him on "Inside the Actors Studio"; he couldn't stop praising you. RB: Eddie's great to work with. And it was sometimes strange how I was treated on WOLF MAN because sometimes they would shoot scenes using my work when I wasn't even there. I do have some experience doing this sort of thing. [laughs] Other times when I was there if I try to look at the monitor, someone would literally stand in my way and block it. On other films, I'm usually right there side by side with the director at the monitor. It was strange. I probably shouldn't be saying any of this, and I don't want to make it seem like I'm down on the picture; I'm not. I think it's going to be a great film. I just thought it was really strange how I was treated on set sometimes. Maybe I'm just getting too old to do this anymore. I mean, I love making these movies, but if it's going to be like this from now on… Capone: Do you think it's a sign of the digital age, that these younger directors or others on the production team just don't understand how to work with a craftsman rather than green screens and dots on the face? RB: I think CGI absolutely has a place in filmmaking. I dabble in it myself; I like creating shit. But when I sought out this job, I actually did a makeup test on myself, just put the applications on my face and videotaped it and sent it in. I actually own [original WOLFMAN makeup man] Jack Pierce's original makeup box, and so this was my way of honoring his ways and saying that his ways were the right ways. And fortunately [those developing the film] liked it, agreed it looked cool, and asked me to do it. It certainly easier to get better performances from the actors using more practical effects. If they're supposed to be looking at some awesome landscape or some other kind of environment, and all they're seeing is green screen, you notice the change in the acting, like with the last three STAR WARS films. Capone: I've certainly talked to a couple of people recently, mostly directors, who see the pendulum swinging back toward practical effects and real sets versus CG. Audiences are much more savvy and can tell when something is fake and it takes them right out of the movie. That's one of the things people are praising about DARK KNIGHT. And even seeing that WATCHMEN footage today, there are certainly special effects, but it's nothing like what Zack Snyder did with 300. RB: Here's the thing: I know WOLF MAN could be cool as a CG thing. And even if it's a crappy transformation, I think the rest of the movie is going to be so cool, the fans are going to like it. Capone: Okay, let's get off this topic for a minute. Just getting the WOLF MAN gig had to be a dream come true, right up there with something like getting KING KONG. RB: It really was. Pretty much every makeup and special effects artist I know was inspired by those two films. You could probably throw FRANKENSTEIN into that mix as well. Capone: I love that the film is a period piece. I didn't realize it was being handled as a story that takes place in the 1800s. RB: Somehow that makes all of it feel more real, more believable. And they built these huge sets that look like this old English town. And the town almost becomes a character in the film. The temptation with monster movies today is to update and modernize. I've certain done that. So I admire the decision to keep it a period film. Capone: Rick, it was great meeting you. I can't wait to see the movie. And I shouldn't have to say this to someone of your stature, but good luck with this. RB: Thanks. I mean it. Pleasure meeting you. And I should be very clear that I'm excited too. -Capone

Readers Talkback
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  • July 26, 2008, 3:48 a.m. CST

    Bloody hell. A british FIRST

    by Frankie Pigeon

    and no wolfman transformation sequence will ever top American Werewolf. Glad to hear baker's not trying to.

  • July 26, 2008, 3:48 a.m. CST


    by wbrownley

  • July 26, 2008, 3:49 a.m. CST

    An ASSistant blocked his way to the combo?

    by SpencerTrilby

    Way to deal with a fucking master in make-up FX. That's some serious respect and deference here. <p> As for the CGI transformation, I really don't know what to think. Can't they blend practical and CGI?

  • July 26, 2008, 3:51 a.m. CST


    by wbrownley

    well, i guess the insomnia hasn't paid off. i'm going to bed.

  • July 26, 2008, 3:59 a.m. CST

    fascinating but he should keep his mouth shut

    by Rupee88

    That isn't the way to get more work coming your way, but he's probably wealthy and doesn't he is so talented and that may get him over. But the Hollywood rules are to praise everything and don't make public the dirty laundry from the production. If he sounds this annoyed, you know he is toning it way down and it was a total clusterfuck. As if changing directors midway, was not enough, they were cockblocking him out of the production process etc. CGI is fine but not if it on the level of "I Am Legend". I wasn't really that excited about this film to begin with, but now I am certainly less so.

  • July 26, 2008, 4 a.m. CST

    how come no one from aicn went over to lahoya

    by bacci40

    to interview gaiman who is doing some teaching workshop, but also did a signing on wednesday? in fact, no blog went to interview the guy, and coraline is coming out this year...wakeup people...and baker is a god

  • July 26, 2008, 4 a.m. CST

    i need more punisher and wolfman talkbacks

    by Prossor

    craving increasing.... hmm... threeway with punisher and wolfman.... yes...

  • July 26, 2008, 4:02 a.m. CST

    Rupee88...isnt it refreshing to hear talent

    by bacci40

    speak their mind? or would you rather watch a greg grunberg performance, kissing ass with everyone in the house?

  • July 26, 2008, 4:02 a.m. CST

    I just got off the phone with Joe Johnston

    by SpencerTrilby

    he's gonna take Punisher 2 over. So the studio will finally greenlight his pet project. Codename: JP4.

  • July 26, 2008, 4:11 a.m. CST

    It's infuriating that the studio and filmmaker would treat baker

    by IndustryKiller!

    I want to see this movie. pretty fucking badly actually. Werewolves in victorian times with a great actor? Awesome. But I can wait and skip it in theaters if it seems that Bakers works, who is really the fucking star of this film, has been tampered with. If Baker says he can deliver a practical transformation on time and on budget then the only excuse not to is laziness. I can't believe that Del Toro, since this is a passion project of his, would have it any other way.

  • July 26, 2008, 4:51 a.m. CST

    Fuck this makes me nervous...

    by half vader

    In the other Wolfman TB I said "I'm crossing my fingers that as Baker has so much love for the Wolfman, that they don't break his heart on this. He's talked about retiring. I reckon if they fuck him over this could be the proverbial last straw." <p> Now after reading this new interview I feel a sense of icky dread. They fucked him on the 70s Kong, which was a labour of love. Even Landis didn't shoot the American Werewolf transformation the way he wanted, and now this... fingers crossed man, fingers crossed...

  • July 26, 2008, 4:51 a.m. CST

    I trust Universal to make the right decision.

    by TattooedBillionaire

    They were smart enought to jump off the Ratner ship, so they obviously want to keep doing the right things. I think we'll be okay.

  • July 26, 2008, 4:56 a.m. CST

    Remember that Joe Johnston's an SFX techie by trade

    by palimpsest

    Maybe he was threatened by having Baker on set and marginalised him because of that. I mean, it's a little like having Kubrick turning up on an Brett Ratner shoot.

  • July 26, 2008, 5:16 a.m. CST


    by half vader

    You obviously don't know who Johnston is. You know the look and feel of Star Wars (the originals)? McQuarrie gets all the press (and yeah he's fantastic), but it's every bit as much due to Johnston's design, storyboards, art direction... "SFX techie" is an insult and mindless simplification. You act like it's his first film as a director. 'Remember' yourself to know what the fuck you're going on about.

  • July 26, 2008, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Sorry, Palimpsest.

    by half vader

    Caught it but it was too late. WhyTF do the mods/writers have the option to edit their stuff and we don't? Oh yeah, AICN forum capabilities are fucked. I don't care about avatars, but damn...

  • July 26, 2008, 5:30 a.m. CST

    M-O-O-N. That spells Legend.

    by Tom Cullen

    Which is absolutely what Rick Baker is. And the mere fact that they hired Rick Baker, the man who made us believe in werewolves in The Howling and An American Werewolf in London, and then tied his hands behind his back, well, that's just a cinematic sin right there. And his ill-treatment on the set? Jesus, has everyone gone insane in hollywood. Treat this artist with the respect he deserves, and let him free to weave his artistry, and he's one of those guys that will deliver the goods, but you first have to actually let him do so. Wake up Universal, to have Rick Baker on The Wolfman and not tke full advantage of him is idiotic beyond belief, even by hollywood standards. <p>M-O-O-N. That spells lycanthrope.

  • July 26, 2008, 7:01 a.m. CST

    BAKER is a genius

    by max404

    and a legend to boot his make-up/mechanical fx make CGI look cheap and fake best thing about the ring remake were the 2 seconds or so we see his make-up fx. scary shit. a real shame the man hasn't been doing (asked to do?) more work the last 15 years or so

  • July 26, 2008, 7:26 a.m. CST

    Thank you Capone and Rick Baker

    by Genre_Baby

    First time commenting here after lurking for years. Had to join after reading this. UNIVERSAL show Mr. Baker the same faith/respect you did back in 1980-81 with An American Werewolf in London. Don't blow this one. Allow practical effects to be incorporated. It's not right someone with a track record as sound and amazing as Mr. Baker should be second-guessed. You deserve his talent and judgment. To Mr. Baker, don't let them get you down. We need you now more than ever. Thanks Capone for getting more information out. It stings to see the studios pulling this kind of bs. I hope they read this thread and reconsider.

  • July 26, 2008, 7:30 a.m. CST

    Van Helsing should get bitch-slapped by everyone.

    by Uncle Stan

  • July 26, 2008, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Show me a CGI werewolf and I will show you a crap film

    by hallmitchell

    E.G. Cursed, Van Helsing, An American Werewolf in Paris. All flops. Did you read that producers. All flops. I want NO CGI on the werewolf.

  • July 26, 2008, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Ugly Wolfman Head

    by Etrigan_

    I like that they're doing the old school werewolf style. More man the wolf. Not the dog snout looking dudes. Sorry, it was cool at first but the original Wolfman with the protruding under bite is the one for me

  • July 26, 2008, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Why Does Everyone Hate CGI So Much?

    by LaserPants

    Cause it looks good? I mean, yeah, practical efx are awesome, and are a dying art, and Baker is a master at that stuff, but, I'm sorry, for the most part, a mix of practical and cgi looks better. For proof of this see the absolutely horrifying Harvey Dent / Two Face efx in The Dark Knight. The only reason that looked as good as it did was because of cgi Drop the luddite act 'cause its kinda, well, dumb.

  • July 26, 2008, 9:09 a.m. CST

    I always liked Joe Johnston, however

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    if he allowed Rick Baker to be treated in this manner, then Fuck You Johnston. You and the Spinosaurus you rode in on. I know that you know your shit. You made the Rocketeer for fucks sake, but Baker is a god. Get your fuckin head outta your ass.

  • July 26, 2008, 9:13 a.m. CST

    Capone, Who can we write to?

    by Rando Calrisian

    Like you said, the fans might have a little power in this. If we are loud enough, the studio heads might pull their heads out of their asses and allow Rick to work his magic. When I first heard of this project, I was hoping this would be all old school film making. A little CGI enhancement is just fine, but to do it all CGI is lame. Why do you have Rick Baker there if you aren't going to allow him to do what he does best? <br> <br> An American Werewold in London has yet to be topped, and that film os over 25 years old. With the advances technology has made since then - let him at least try to knock your sock off! <br> <br> Case in point - look at the CGI transformations in An American Werewolf in Paris, Wolf, Van Helsing, Underworld and even Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Most of those look dreadful in camparison. <br> <br> If Rick says he can do it practical - let him try.

  • July 26, 2008, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Damn fat fingers.

    by Rando Calrisian

  • July 26, 2008, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Very true what Baker says.

    by Knuckleduster

    You have to go with whatever enhances the performance. Now, the only time I've ever seen CGI enhance a performance was with Andy Serkis playing Gollum. When it comes to werewolves, there simply is no debate. Stick to practical. <p> As far as I'm concerned, there are only two people on that entire production that can't be replaced, and that's Del Toro and Baker. Wake up, Universal. <p> P.S. I second that vote for JP4.

  • July 26, 2008, 9:35 a.m. CST

    On His Relationship With Eddie Murphy...

    by TroutMaskReplicant

    Baker should be helping Murphy with his latex addiction by using physical effects to transform himself into a cold turkey.

  • July 26, 2008, 9:38 a.m. CST

    NO CGI

    by CharyouTree

    I agree, no werewolf film should use the CGI, its a crime, Lycathrope movies always made the best use of practical effects, all those that didnt flopped, as Hallmitchell pointed out, Im not totally against the use of CGI as an enhancement but CGIing a whole transformation is like CGIing a Jackie Chan for a whole fight scene.

  • July 26, 2008, 9:49 a.m. CST

    rick baker vs. steven spielberg

    by Toe Jam

    just read a fascinating account of baker's problems working with steven spielberg on the alien designs for what would have been "night skies." it was in a book called "the greatest 25 sci-fi movies never made." interesting stuff. baker doesn't seem afraid of sharing his thoughts -- good and bad -- on things, and i'd love to some day see his "night skies" designs.

  • July 26, 2008, 9:56 a.m. CST


    by Frijole

    Nosferatu Jones is correct. Get your shit straight.

  • July 26, 2008, 9:58 a.m. CST

    This sounds like a disaster

    by Bass Bastardson

    Rick Baker is a very diplomatic gentleman.

  • July 26, 2008, 10:42 a.m. CST

    I trust this movie will rule next year...

    by ChezKing

    I believe in Rick Baker. He is a genius, but I also trust Joe Johnston will deliver. All the stars have aligned perfectly for this film production, despite all the previous problems. Let's, as fans, not create an unnecessary negative buzz, until we see the footage. Negative buzz can hurt a good film, and we're talking about the Wolf Man here.

  • July 26, 2008, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Does he morp into Jar Jar Binks??

    by picardsucks

  • July 26, 2008, 10:45 a.m. CST

    If Baker has Problems with Spielberg, Landis...

    by DoctorWho?

    ...AND the people and THIS film then maybe HE'S the one who's a pain in the ass. Just sayin'. You know the saying...if EVERYONE in the romm is telling you you're too drunk, maybe you should just sit down.

  • July 26, 2008, 10:56 a.m. CST

    The Howling, Cursed

    by half vader

    Frijole - This is from memory, but as I recall Baker was going to be on Howling and may have even done preliminary work but in the end was much too busy, so he gave Bottin (who was on his team) his blessing and off Bottin went. As far as I remember the story, the bladder stuff which was going to be the big American Werewolf zinger was used by Bottin in Howling, and Baker felt sorta betrayed. I think, like the Night Skies stuff, that's all blown over. Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I think Baker even has some sort of credit on Howling. So don't be so harsh about the Howling, it's not black-and-white. <p> I'll try to find the info and get back on this one. <p> As for Cursed, the only reason I watched that thing was to see Rick Baker Werewolf stuff. I'd read that even though most stuff was KNB or someone (I'm getting foggy, it's 2 in the morning here), there was still some of Monstermaker's stuff there. Nope. But they still kept dropping his name in the extras!! Maybe this was just the Oz release. Does anyone know (besides, he wouldn't know) whether there's any RB work left in the U.S. version?

  • July 26, 2008, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Is Baker a pain in the ass on set?

    by ChezKing

    Doctor Who, you pose a fair question. It's very possible that Baker is a pain in the ass on set, but he is also the man, when it comes to sfx and make-up. But the truth is, we are only hearing his side of the story, and fans have a tendency to scream bloody murder when one negative thing springs up about a movie they love in production. Also, it's a little unprofessional on Rick Baker's part to be sitting here complaining to an interviewer about the production. He should know better. I am not against Baker, but there are far better ways to handle this problem than rousing negative buzz from fans.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Rick Baker DID work on THE HOWLING


    He was special makeup effects consultant. Rob Bottin came to Rick Baker for help. If memory serves, John Landis was none to pleased with Baker for this since he thought it was stealing the thunder of the America Werewolf's transformations which was in production at roughly the same time. THE HOWLING beat AWIL to the screen by a few months. Both films are great.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:12 a.m. CST

    RE: BOTTIN and BAKER worked on the Howling

    by tav7623

    Both Rick Baker and Rob Bottin worked on the Howling... Rob Bottin did the special effects on the film and Rick Baker served as the special effects consultant for the film.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Tom Cullen:

    by Sith Witch

    What's with all this M-O-O-N stuff lately? What film did I miss?

  • July 26, 2008, 11:20 a.m. CST

    History has proved, Doctor Who...

    by half vader

    That Baker was right when he complained to DeLaurentiis that Rambaldi's Kong wouldn't fucking work. Baker was right that the American Werewolf transformation was way overlit and it was bloody obvious that the guy was stuck through a hole in the floor. Baker was right to feel screwed by Spielberg after going hard the whole time Raiders was filming only to have his balls chopped off when eventually told they were "going in another direction" (and then of course the salt in the wound with Rambaldi). <p> The light-up finger and marooned alien survived into E.T. A bit rough that SS pissed off for months and Baker spent the best part of a million bucks on the aliens (I think there was a mohawk named Spike, too!) and while I guess they compensated him financially, what about the wasted time? God I'd love to see those things. It was based on those Kentucky alien encounter stories. Oh and BTW I love Rambaldi's designs. To be fair, maybe SS even offered him E.T. but Baker might have been to upset to take it. Carlo R gave us CE3K spiderguy, E.T. and the Guild Navigator which are all great designs, even if the performance was shit at times. But he DID fuck up HUGE on Kong. Calling Baker out as an arsehole is moronic. <p> On the same theme, there's a common denominator in that you post idiotic TBs most every time you're on a thread. You should sit down yourself. And shut up. You're this close to trolling.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Doctor Who, Fuck you too

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    The transformation scene in Werewolf in London is the single greatest transformation scene in cinema. Baker deserves utmost respect. Who gives a fuck about disagreements with the Burg' 20 fuckin years ago about design work or whatever. These fucks completely disrespected a fuckin genius.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Sith Witch

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    Tom Cullen seems to have at least started a Stephen King novel called the Stand. Please be nice to him, he's just learning to read.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Baker, Bottin and the Howling.

    by cuthbert84

    I asked this question directly to Baker during a Q&A once. The short version: He had been in talks with Landis for years on doing the "werewolf movie", even before they worked on their first movie, "Shlock". Baker had all these ideas on how to do a transformation sequence, but the movie seemed like it would never be. Along comes "The Howling", and Baker is hired, saying he knows just how he'll do it. As it begins, Landis calls him and says, "Guess what! We're making 'Werewolf!'" Baker tells him that he's already on another werewolf movie and Landis is furious. Baker understands, knows that a promise is a promise, and tells the Howling crew, "I'm sorry, I have a previous commitment, but here's my head guy, Rob Bottin", and he took over.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:26 a.m. CST

    I swear there's an echo in both these Wolfman threads...

    by half vader

    Oh well. And Baker is a pussycat and outdoes David Fucking Niven in the gentleman stakes considering until recently he was working with Mark Romanek. Yeah a bit of honesty leaked through instead of the usual browntongued backstabbing bullshit. Boo fucking hoo. You guys that defend that as 'professional' are hilarious. You know what both Romanek and Bakers complaints are in aid of though? <p> Excellence.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Oh and Joe Johnston did the final look for the Iron Giant

    by half vader

    too, as well as your precious Boba Fett. Again, not just a "techie".

  • July 26, 2008, 11:30 a.m. CST

    nice half vader

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

  • July 26, 2008, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Ease up, half vader

    by palimpsest

    It's the weekend, you know...

  • July 26, 2008, 11:33 a.m. CST



    Rick Baker is about as far away from a Hollywood drone as you could get! He doesn't have to kiss arse to get work and never has, he's had people seeking him out since day one through word of mouth or to be more precise his Oscar winning work speaks for itself. He tells it like it is and I don't believe he's holding back either so if he says the movie works despite the restrictions he's had then i'm still there to at least see some great Wolfman Make-up!<P>Best case scenario with Rick Baker is he's aproached by a director who want's another creative genius on board and someone who'll collaborate to make a scene better! sounds like these days there's too many little cooks all poking their noses in and pasting over the cracks with shitty CG! has to be frustrating but Baker is also not adverse to using CG where it's necissary to blend FX work or make a scene possible where practical FX just won't do<P>Beniccio Del Torro plus Rick Baker are enough to get my arse in a theatre seat, shame all the other ingredients aren't there or this might have been an amazing Wolfman movie rather than possibly a good one!

  • July 26, 2008, 11:47 a.m. CST

    I always thought that Vince Vaughn

    by Smoke Monster Loves Kate

    would've made a perfect Wolf Man. But for one set in modern day or perhaps early 20th century. Del Toro should be cool for a period setting.

  • July 26, 2008, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Grow up.

    by jdl82

    You guys honestly think that makeup is the way to go with human-to-monster transformations? What are you, 50?? CGI's going to replace makeup, prosthetic foreheads, and eventually even replace actors. You actors really should've listened to your mommies when they told you to get a "real job." Your day is coming to an end. <p>That is all.

  • July 26, 2008, 12:26 p.m. CST


    by half vader

    You're right. But do you blame me? Rick Baker (and Joe Johnston too) is part of the reason I had my mind blown as a kid and why I finally pulled my finger out and got into the business about a decade back. But I do make a point to try to stay objective, even though I love old-school AND digital effects. The more you know about both, the better I reckon. <p> Can you blame me for getting a bit excited/worried?! It's 3.30 in the morning and I should go to bed though, that much is true. Cheers. <p> Filmfunk, don't forget the script is by Andrew Kevin Walker, who gave us Seven and Sleepy Hollow, both of which I love. I can't wait.

  • July 26, 2008, 12:34 p.m. CST

    After . . .

    by adiehardfanwithalethalweapon

    . . . more than 30 yrs in the business I think he has a right to his opinion. Most directors could stand to learn a thing or two from him. I also think Baker's a super honest guy and it can sometimes make him look bad.

  • July 26, 2008, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Half Vader and whats his fuck?

    by DoctorWho?

    Get up on the wrong side of the bed today tiger? But please learn to was a QUESTION not a statement.. I LOVE Baker's work!! American Werwolf in London was the single greatest movie going experience of my life at that age! It made me want to get into special effects and make-up. Countless movie goers watched that transformation scene and were blown away. I doubt that one single movie goer leaned over to the person next to them to whisper "Looks a bit 'over- lit' to me." Baker being the consumate pro that he is could look at it and probably point out half a dozen things he didn't like plus half a dozen more reasons the producer and director maade it difficult. The artist always has a much more discerning eye. You obviously know the whole behind the scenes political minutiae involved. Good for you. Write a book. That being said...why such a defensive prick like troll response to a simple question? You and NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks should just go back to bed and spoon. You guys both sound like the comic book store owner on the Simpsons.

  • July 26, 2008, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Sith Witch.

    by Gilkuliehe

    It's from Stephen King's novel THE STAND. I remember a "mentally challenged" character called Tom Cullen who used to say "M-O-O-N that's how you spell..." and then say any random crap. Did you hear that, user Tom Cullen? A MENTALLY CHALLENGED character. It's getting annoying, dude. <p> Oh and cockblocking Rick Baker sucks. Since THRILLER I've been dying to see a Zombie flick with Baker in charge of the make-up.

  • July 26, 2008, 2:03 p.m. CST

    I dunno

    by Neil_the_Sheep

    Baker has got talent no doubt..does amazing fav being, oddly enough, for Ed Wood. However, I always get the impression, maybe the wrong one, that he's probably hard to work with. They ask him to do some work, and he wants to take over the whole making of the movie it seems...he's not the director, but I dunno if he gets that.

  • July 26, 2008, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Who gives a shit

    by Double M


  • July 26, 2008, 3:56 p.m. CST

    this sounds like director-studio stuff to me

    by Genre_Baby

    Baker has every right to complain, considering how things changed when directors did. Why folks are so stunned that Rick has the guts to talk about this? If Rick's built something that will be even cooler on screen and cheaper doesn't that make more sense? It sounds like he's genuinely stung by the treatment he received on set. I don't know Joe Johnson from squat but I'm real surprised he wouldn't want the person who is making the Wolf-Man on set to ensure that this will be a great movie across the board. Wouldn't you want the person making the lead character right there? I would. C.G.I. can work in some instances not all. And if there practical effects that will sell the transformation far better than a C.G.I. morph I don't see the crime saying something about it. Baker does the job folks pay him for and then some. It doesn't sound like he's trying to control the movie; only control how wonderful and "real" certain elements of The Wolf Man will be. This is one of his dream projects and it's a shame that Universal doesn't see their legacy and Rick's work as something that will live for a long time to come. So I say it again: Universal give Rick's practical effects a chance. It could mean an incredible movie rather than a decent one and perhaps more box office too.

  • July 26, 2008, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Yep another balanced view from AICN

    by 2LeggedFreak

    Whats the point of just broadcasting one side of the argument unless its just to back up your fan boy love. Grow up. <br> <br> Incidentally there hhas bee some pretty shitty use of CGI but when done right its fine. Anyone remember that film where the director was going to use all practical effects until somebody persuaded him part CGI was the wasy to go. Oh what was it called .... Jurassic'll come back to me.

  • July 26, 2008, 4:22 p.m. CST


    by ChezKing

    Maybe his practical transformation concept wasn't convincing to Johnston and Co. I mean, what looked impressive in the 80's doesn't work at all today. Not saying that cgi is that much better either. But the thing we all have to remember is we're only talking about the transformation not the end result which is the creature, and that's all Baker. Regardless of all the controversy surrounding this production, the movie is no doubt going to be awesome. We already know what the Wolf Man looks like, and we know the cast and it honestly can't get much better.

  • July 26, 2008, 5:07 p.m. CST



    Thanks, didn't know who wrote it. I just get a bit worried when a new director comes in on something that looks like it has all the right ingredients and stuff starts to fall appart. I'm hoping it's at least good unlike that piece of shite that Wolf because I was truly shocked how crappy that actually was when the list of talent seemed like it couldn't fail! Mike Nichols, Jack Nicholson and Rick Baker!

  • July 26, 2008, 5:26 p.m. CST

    Will Liev Schreiber out-perform del Toro?

    by Immortal_Fish

    The more I hear about this project and how it is shaping up (read: badly) the more I can't help but wonder if Liev Schreiber's take on Sabretooth in the Wolverine movie, considering how that is shaping up (read: nicely), will out-do del Toro's take on the Wolfman.

  • July 26, 2008, 7:14 p.m. CST

    IDK why Snyder is reviled.

    by dr sauch

    I think 300 was really great. Do i believe that they were in a real environment? No. But then, its a graphic novel adaptation, and I felt like I was watching 300, the novel, come to life. It was almost like a big-budget art-house film. I think that Snyder is EXTREMELY gifted visually, and I think that WATCHMEN will be stunning.

  • July 26, 2008, 8:40 p.m. CST

    Sorry Doctor Who?

    by half vader

    But that was the worst written idle question ever... and you're a troll calling the kettle black. My reading comprehension is just fine. Your writing fucking sucks. Actual questions have a question mark, rhetorical ones don't. Asshat. <p> You're right though. I was loopy last night and already admitted I was doing the ol' AICN post at 3 in the morning shtick, but if you can't see the pertinence of the American Werewolf situation you're a bigger idiot than I thought. <p> If you knew anything about what you profess to love so much, you'd know that often the makeup is designed around and for the lighting, angles and editing. So it's fair enough for it to be a big issue between Baker and Landis at the time and more than fair for me to get a little "comic book guy" about it, not to mention making a point in this particular thread. Did you know Smith painted his highlights almost in fluoro yellows on Sallieri in Amadeus because he knew the scene would be shot in yellow tones (otherwise the detail would be lost)? I'm not 'schooling' you, just giving another example of why that sorta stuff is crucial. <p> No, I'm not the comic book guy. Like you, I love this stuff and of course that scene is an all-time fave, but unlike you and the comic book guy, I put my money and pedantry where my mouth is. If you can agree you dish it out but can't take it, we're cool.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:24 p.m. CST

    Your're right Half vader

    by DoctorWho?

    You're question mark as in "Maybe he is a pain in the ass". Hey, what can I say...I type this shit out at work 'on the fly' and don't proof read my posts. But look dude, I'm just a fan... not an FX technician! If I sit here and asked you if you knew that John Coltrane's theme in the song "Acknowledgement" was based on a theme of four notes going up a minor third and back and then up a would probably say..."No, I just dig the solo man"... OR... "Who gives a fuck". My point is this: I too can get DAMN particular about a topic I have some expertise in...I'm just not gonna rip off the guys head who doesn't. I'm not questioning Baker's artistry...that's where you're mistaken. Just found the ultra-defensive attack mode a bit of an eyebrow raiser. But hey, I appreciate the passion. We're cool.

  • July 26, 2008, 11:54 p.m. CST

    The Thing had some very fake looking effects

    by Rupee88

    I love that movie, but you can't say it didn't look super fake when the dog was changing or with that one guys head. This backlash against CGI is somewhat justified but also exaggerated. King Kong was near perfect in CGI and would have looked retarded otherwise. The vampires in I Am Legend looked retarded in CGI and would have looked much better otherwise. So it just depends on the project and the talent of the animators/makeup artists.

  • July 27, 2008, 12:41 a.m. CST

    yeah, that's the head

    by Rupee88

    that was the part that I was talking about...I couldn't remember the details, but it did look really fake. I thought it was fun and funny but it sure didn't look real. Anyway, I basially agree with what you are saying. It will be interesting to see how "photorealistic" the CG people/aliens are in Avatar. It's impossible to do photorealistic animated humans, but if they make funky enough aliens, maybe they can pull it off a bit.

  • July 27, 2008, 2:53 a.m. CST

    Sorry no offense Rick Baker but fuck CGI.

    by AllPowerfulWizardOfOz

    You can dance around the issue all you want and call me out of touch but what you do is art and you are fucking that art in the ass with an endorsement of CGI. That's bullshit and I am going to call you out on it right now because you've made a career out of doing practical which IMO is and always will be better than any CGI. I dunno reading that interview had the opposite affect on me. I am actually disappointed now.

  • July 27, 2008, 5:37 a.m. CST

    Thanks Doc Who.

    by half vader

    Maybe I can get heated at APWoO instead! <p> Hey check this out. If you love Baker, you probably love Dick Smith. If you love Dick Smith, you'll be blown away at this. Kazuhiro Tsuji is an awesome sculptor/makeup effects guy who was discovered by Smith and has worked for Rick Baker for years. He's just freakishly great and he did an oversized 'portrait' sculpt of Dick Smith for his 80th birthday. My mouth dropped open when I saw it. <p> This is the only link I could find with Smith standing next to the sculpt. It's a myspace thingie so hopefully it works. Here goes: <p>

  • July 27, 2008, 7:09 a.m. CST

    His work on "Wolf" was TOO Understated

    by TheBloop

    God, I was less impressive than some low budget Wolfy films I have seen. But of course, Rick Backer is a god. Here is my list of best looking werewolves in film: 1. American Werewolf in London 2: Dog Soldiers 2. The Howling 3. Bad Moon 4. Underworld 2 (the big bad wolf guy at the end) 5. The Monster Squad WORST< VAN HELSING

  • July 27, 2008, 8:24 a.m. CST

    James Spader is a super-psycho-lookin muthafuka

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    when equipped simply with sideburns and yellow contact lenses.

  • July 27, 2008, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Ugh, CGI werewolves are never scary

    by jimmy_009

    The worst application of CGI is in the horror genre. It just isn't as effective as practical effects because the key to horror is feeling like you are in the scene. One the CG is applied you immediately step out of it. The worst case of this is always werewolves, since it's damn near impossible to make it look real. Big mistake doing it this way, but it shouldn't come as a surprise.

  • July 27, 2008, 7:18 p.m. CST

    "It's been a while now; I don't remember"

    by Aeghast

    So.. I take it you're not a journalist, Capone..? ;)

  • July 27, 2008, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Like I say, try to be more objective...

    by half vader

    Jimmy 009, certain scenes in Pan's Labyrinth and the even more gruesome (similar, and earlier) scene in Irreversible were pretty fucking scary (I'm not talking about digital dicks). If you can walk away from the start of Irreversable and not be shaken by a digital effect then I guess you're so biased to practical effects there's just no pleasing you. <p> And like I said before, if makeup guys used your rationale of "it was crap before, big mistake, don't even try" then there would NEVER be any breakthroughs and we wouldn't even have the awesome animatronic stuff we love today. The crappy cg stuff and fanboy naysayers should be exactly the springboard that serves to spur the digital guys to try that much harder! The fact that mostly the cg werewolves haven't been scary should be a call to arms, not "just give up and be stuck with the old limitations on purpose". So you NEVER want a dynamic, fast wolf that can actually move and isn't hidden in choppy edits? Luddite. <p> But if the suits and the director ARE listening, Rick Baker MUST supervise the stuff. You've got a certified (HOW many Oscars was that again?!) genius in your midst. Use your brains ,don't cut of your noses to spite your face, and don't fucking block the guy's view of a God-damned monitor. <p> And you're unfair with the old stuff too Jimmy - the majority of practical stuff is still cheap, "fake-looking" and badly designed. Be fair. <p> P.S. I think it was you asn't it that was the kid's software designer who said all the stupid shit about the "Helvetica" doco? If so, the doco was actually really great. If not, apologies.

  • July 27, 2008, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Van Helsuck Was a Horrible Disservice...

    by Playhouse every horror and monster movie ever made. The concept was kind of cool but the execution was atrocious. As a werewolf fan - and especially the work Rick Baker's done - I was appalled. Even more so than with Underworld. And to this day, I can't stand to watch Richard Roxburgh on film.

  • July 27, 2008, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Oh and to the suits just let me say this -

    by half vader

    If this is Rick's love letter to the Wolfman and the classic Universal monsters, then you should make this Universal's love letter to Rick Baker and all the classic monsters and characters he's given you, and us. Nothing less (can we put this on the top of a petition?).

  • July 27, 2008, 10:23 p.m. CST

    And Praise Directors Who are Turning from CGI

    by Playhouse

    It's a wonderful tool that can be used to enhance a film and its effects. But praise the directors who realize just how lazy and dishonest CG is. That's not to knock on the artists that put all of their time and effort into realizing CG effects. I think they do amazing work. It's just often incongruous with all of the other work done in a film. Makes me laugh how CG is supposed to transport us into these other worlds amazingly envisioned in a film but just transports us right out of the work altogether.

  • July 28, 2008, 1:48 a.m. CST


    by half vader

    See 3 posts above. Everything you say of cgi is also true of traditional effects. Cheers.

  • July 28, 2008, 1:50 a.m. CST

    Above yours I meant.

    by half vader


  • July 28, 2008, 10:28 a.m. CST

    rick baker?!!

    by centaur7

    First of all, Rick Baker was great in Walking Tall and I have the utmost respect for him, but why he thinks he knows how to make a werewolf is totally beyond me!!! I've also heard he's cordial, but that doesn't mean he should be doing make-up! I've seen some great CGI effects in my day, Ultraviolet for example was a great use of CGI horror (and WAY unerrated, in my opinion). A lot of people on this site don't seem to get that the future is here and its made of zeros and ones.

  • July 28, 2008, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Shia "The Beef"

    by fishpillow

    just got a DUI!!! Bwa-HA HA HA HA

  • July 28, 2008, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Why even the need for a transformation scene?

    by skimn

    Lets think truly radical, and do away with the full body transformation scene. It's been done and done brilliantly in the past. How about some close ups of some transformation detail and the rest kept in shadow, or dark lighting for effect?

  • July 28, 2008, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Flat out fucking disrespectful.

    by thekylegassproject

    That is fucking outrageous that someone literally BLOCKED Rick MOTHERFUCKING BAKER from viewing a monitor.<p> This industry (like every industry) has been totally fucking high-jacked.<p> industry of fucking cool...

  • July 28, 2008, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Centaur 7

    by half vader

    Hey, you don't joke around about Joe Don Baker!!

  • July 28, 2008, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Why even hire Baker?...

    by Kid Z

    ...Why even spend money on CGI? Let's face it, this is going to end up looking like Jack Nicholson ludicrously bouncing with fake fur glued to his face a la "Wolf" anyway. I love the classic Wolf Man with Lon Chaney Jr. as much as the next guy. But what scared audiences in the 1930's is a far cry from what scares them today. I've watched The Wolf Man almost every Halloween since I was 5 years old and it's NEVER scared me and today I always get a good laugh out of it.

  • July 31, 2008, 3:01 a.m. CST

    Wolfman trailer here

    by chuffsterUK

    Look awful:(

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