Block Telesales Calls NOW
Receive no more
(Left to right) Young explorers Ethan Hawke,
River Phoenix and Jason Presson argue over
the possibility of taking their homemade space
ship Thunder Road up into the galaxy for a
second trip in Paramount Pictures' new science fantasy "Explorers."
If Bottin experiences enormous pleasure in describing the characters he creates, it comes only second to the overwhelming sense of satisfaction he receives by developing the technical achievements behind them.
"The beauty of the makeups for 'Explorers' is that they are half human and half mechanical," he explains. "The innovation was to use the actor's body and lower part of his face, to take advantage of the human characteristics. In order to make them look really alien we changed the placement of their eyes, which don't quite live up to human movement, but come pretty close."
For this young mad scientist of mechanical makeup effects, the object of the game is to constantly out-wit the motion picture audience and perhaps, just possibly, himself.
"When you set out to create something, you have to imaging it becoming real, almost surreal. If it doesn't look believable your efforts are wasted. That's why I go through agony over details--to be able to say, 'Yes, it's alive,'" says Bottin.
"If a kid comes up to me and says, 'Wow! I don't know how you did that!' that's the ultimate compliment, because if you can't fool a kid you're in big trouble."
Rob Bottin has not taken many vacations since beginning his feature film apprenticeship in 1974, but when he does take time off it is to listen to people, trying to observe what entertains them, what scares them and what makes them laugh.
"The thing about doing this type of work is that you have to be young forever," he reflects.
"Whenever I get a call, they don't say, 'You're going to build a 30-foot lizard'; they say, 'I have an idea, but I don't quite know what I want.' I'm always hired for imagination, so my entire team--even when I'm not working--is spent dreaming and just kind of living the life of Walter Mitty."