Sonny model designed by Patrick Tatopoulos, for ‘I, Robot’ directed by Alex Proyas (2004)
Patrick Tatopoulos on creatures: A great creature is designed to serve the story. The creature should belong to the world that the movie is set in. I like creatures that look elegant, beautiful and scary at the same time such as Alien and Predator. They are gorgeous pieces that are not just ugly, bloody things. In a way there is something cool about them.
H.R. Giger: Neocronom for ‘Alien III’ directed by David Fincher (1992) Resin and metal
Patrick Tatopoulos on his influences: The creatures designed by H.R Giger. Another person who influenced my career is Frank Frazetta. He is a great fantasy and science fiction artist who painted men and women with muscular bodies. His work is very erotic as well. Also, I am influenced by the artists Jeroen Bosch, Pieter Bruegel and I am obsessed with German expressionism films such as ‘Nosferatu’ by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau.
Original Stormtrooper helmet used in Star Wars and Star Wars; The Empire Strikes Back (1977-80) Painted high-density polyethylene, rubber, metal, celluloid, foam, elastic.
Patrick Tatopoulos on directors: Some directors provide hardly any input on the design of the creature as they use it as a device in the story. Other directors are very much involved. They think very visual. Most of the time directors give me a couple of ideas that matter to them about the creature and give me the freedom to design the creature that fits with the story.
Double Negative, Installation based on the film ‘Ex Machina’ directed by Alex Garland (2015)
Patrick Tatopoulos on becoming a creature designer: When I was five or six years old I was always drawing monsters. When I came to Hollywood it was a logical step to become a creature designer. After creating many creatures and monsters I wanted to design the world that the creatures live in and I did the production design for some movies. Then I wanted to become a director because I wanted to tell the story. For me it was a step-by-step discovery.
Spock (Leonard Nimoy) space suit from Star Trek: The Motion Pictures directed by Robert Wise (1979)
Patrick Tatopoulos on creatures becoming bigger than you are: Designing creatures is very rewarding. I remember the first sketches of Sonny for the film ‘I, Robot’ and now it’s here [at the exhibition]. Creatures are bigger than you are. I sit in the dark behind my desk and design the creature that will become huge and iconic. The object is bigger than you will ever be and I love that.
Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous Device from ‘Inception’ directed by Christopher Nolan (2010)
Projection helmet from ‘A Scanner Darkly’ directed by Richard Linklater (2006)
Kane (John Hurt) space suit from ‘Alien’ directed by Ridley Scott (1979)
TARS robot designed by Double Negative from ‘Interstellar’ directed by Christopher Nolan (2014) Steel, plastic, rubber
Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction, Barbican Centre until 1 September 2017
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