Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stargate Atlantis - iO9: Interview with Masters FX's Dan Rebert

At iO9:

(Please follow the link for the complete interview.)

The aging of Robert Patrick (Col. Sumner) from Stargate Atlantis' series premiere episode, 'Rising,' from the Masters FX site.

Creature Creator Dan Rebert Talks to io9 About Alien Influences and True Blood

We’ve made no secret of our admiration for special effects artists. This week, we got to talk with Dan Rebert, the Effects Producer for MastersFX, the house that created the aliens of Stargate Atlantis and Slither. Rebert told us all about his cultural influences, talked Stargate, and gave us the inside scoop on the fang physiology behind his current project, HBO series True Blood.


Now on a weekly show like Stargate Atlantis – I know that different houses have different approaches to weekly alien shows. What would you say your goal is on a weekly alien show like Stargate Atlantis?

Creature from Stargate Atlantis' 'Vengeance,' from the Masters FX site.
DR: "A lot of what I look at – and again, keep in mind, too, that the shop that I run down here in LA – we have a shop in Vancouver, too, and the Vancouver shop does the majority of the prosthetic work for it. The LA shop, we mainly get involved when it’s puppets or full body suits or a prosthetic that is very complex. So the shop down here, we’re more set up for larger creations.

But this shop down here did the initial construction of the Wraiths, and we actually just did something that I was real proud of for Atlantis. I think it was last year or the year before, but it was an episode called “Vengeance” that was basically an homage to the Alien movies. And it was a pretty good episode, but one of the things – we had a bunch of different designers doing monster designs for it. But when I read the script it was like, 'This is obviously an homage to the Alien movies.' So what I did then in terms of a design was something that was very reminiscent of that alien. And so a lot of times in reading those scripts – the Stargate shows kind of are a celebration of science fiction and a lot of times they kind of nod to other shows that have been done before – and a lot of times, when I see that in a script that obviously they have for the shows, obviously we don’t want to want to directly copy off of anything, but I think that’s the best approach for them is really read the script, find out what they had in mind when they were writing it, what maybe they were thinking of, and give it an original design based on those directions. The way I did it with the Vengeance monster, a lot of the front of the face was very similar to the alien – I knew they would like that – but in terms of the rest of the body, I actually modeled it after a flea. [Laughs.] Well, they’re pretty terrifying-looking when you see them up close. And I actually told them that when they were up there and they were very happy with the monster. And it was like, 'Yeah, this was what we wanted.' And I was like, “Yeah, I modeled it off a flea.' And they were like, 'A flea?” Well, you know, you take what works.'"

Creature from Stargate Atlantis' 'Vengeance,' from the Masters FX site.


Did you have consultants on any of the science fiction shows, or was that mostly on the other shows?
DR: "Not so much on the Stargates and stuff like that, but there usually is a medical consultant on most of the medical procedure shows we do. Like, we did a show a long time ago, Kingdom Hospital, and there was a medical consultant that was very involved in the brain surgeries and things of that nature. I’m trying to think if we didn’t have any consultants on True Blood. I can’t think of any off-hand. They don’t really have too many vampire specialists. I think that was Alan’s job because Alan came up with the whole mythology of the vampires. I had an interview for HBO and I was explaining to them how vampire blood is very thick and syrupy and human blood is more runny and brighter red, and they asked me, 'Well, how do you know what vampire blood looks like?' And I said, 'Alan Ball told me!' Well, he’s the boss."


The link to Masters FX site:

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