View Full Version : Episode III Set Diary

06-05-2003, 05:18 PM
My Hyperspace is finaly working :). So for anyone who hasn't got it, here's all the Episode III Set Diaries for you:

Always an Adventure - May 24 2003
It was Thursday, March 27, at 10:40 am when my manager almost casually mentioned across the office, "Oh we got the word. You're going to Australia." A whirlwind of paperwork, packing and planning later, I'm now sitting at Gate 94 of San Francisco International Airport, waiting for the plane that will take me down to Sydney to cover the filming of Episode III, the final missing piece in the Star Wars puzzle.

I forget exactly how the idea of planting a correspondent in the thick of things came about. It was something that just wasn't feasible with Episode II. Our starwars.com team is so small (you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you), sparing a body for an extended trip Down Under just couldn't happen. But now, we've got more experience and resources under our belts to make this possible.

Around the Ranch, there's a business-school buzz-phrase called "managing ambiguity," a laudable skill in this kind of work. It fits rather well with this ongoing set diary since we won't know what we've got until we've got it. It's doubly fitting since that applies to filmmaking as well, particularly in the organic "living document" approach favored by George Lucas. This online journal is a new adventure, and who knows where it'll take us (I honestly don't... but I've got a few ideas).

My task is to communicate my experiences on set through regular updates, but there's a lot of room to maneuver within that very vague direction. So expect this journal to develop and evolve as the production continues. Since my own background is from fandom, I'll try to point out the things fans would find unusual, remarkable, or just plain cool.

I'm sure many readers out there are eagerly -- or nervously -- asking "Will there be spoilers?" Yeah, well, probably, depending on your definition of spoiler. But that's too narrow a view of what this journal's about. Sure, some of the story of Episode III will be touched upon, but this is the story of the making of the movie. If you're afraid of knowing too much, I'll be sensitive to that with appropriate warnings and whatnot. On the other hand, if you're convinced that nothing substantive will leak out through these reports, I can say that I will need to put certain things into context, and if doing so lets attentive readers deduce Episode III secrets, so be it. And, on top of that, you get the added benefit of knowing that these reports are true and not misheard Internet gossip or bogus news.

The last few weeks, I've been re-reading Alan Arnold's Once Upon A Galaxy (http://www.mysimon.com/cobrand/starwars/msrch/index.jhtml?c=bookisbn&pgid=shop&pid=0345290755) and Derek Taylor's The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (http://www.mysimon.com/cobrand/starwars/msrch/index.jhtml?c=bookisbn&pgid=shop&pid=0345297253) to see what other precedents there were for chronicling a Lucasfilm venture. Those aren't completely compatible examples, however, since this journal and Episode III are unique ventures. The writers of those books knew their works would come out scrubbed clean years after the project began, with several pairs of editorial eyes that knew the end of the story looking over their works.

This journal doesn't have the benefit of that safety net. It's just a writer on one side of the world, and an editor on the other, serving this up to the Hyperspace community. "Raw" will probably end up being a good word to describe this.

So here's the first entry. I'm getting my routine preflight butterflies, and am shaking away those oh-too-common spasms of uncertainty where I'm convinced I forgot to pack something, pay that one bill, or shut off an iron I don't even own.

They've started boarding passengers. I'd best unplug and get ready for the next fourteen or so hours airborne. See you Down Under.


06-05-2003, 05:20 PM
Touchdown - May 26 2003
At 6 this morning, local time, the plane touched down in Sydney, greeted by a haze of winter rain. I've yet to really wrap my mind around a lot of this. I can't help but notice that travel across the globe now means that my personal calendar no longer contains a May 25, so I can't even quietly acknowledge the 26th anniversary of the original Star Wars.

After being met at the airport by a driver and shuttled to my new accommodations, a member of the JAK production team met up with me. As you may already know, even though it's the Lucasfilm logo that appears at the start of every Star Wars movie, a separate company is formed for the actual production of film. In the past, there's been internal company names like the The Star Wars Corporation and Black Falcon Ltd.

Anyway, Production Assistant Ali Keshavji provided me with an introductory packet of essential information about Sydney, a complete list of the production crew, and a handy map of Fox Studios Australia. He was also kind enough to stock my fridge and pass along some walking-around money.

"So, it's Monday now, right?" I confirmed. "I'm not supposed to be in until tomorrow. They've given me a day to acclimate, I guess. What time do things generally start?"

"Well, depends on where you work," he said. "Usually, the production offices start at 8 a.m., but other departments may have different start times. If you're in construction, for example, your day typically starts at 7. You're a bit different, since you're a department of one."

So, now I've got this binder with 35 pages of names and contact information, representing potential interview candidates. Many of the names are familiar, and I've talked to a few over the phone, but I've never really met many of them in person.

But before any of that, I have to get settled here in Australia, and today's the day to do it. I gotta run into town to pick up some power converters. No, I'm not joking.

Dueling for the First Day - May 27 2003
Episode III has taken over all seven stages of Fox Studios Australia, which makes navigating the professional section of the studio complex pretty easy. On my first day here, I was taken on a quick tour of the facility, the various buildings and production offices, and made it a point to make my name and face known to those currently hard at work preparing for when shooting begins.

As part of that tour, I went to the upstairs area of a particular building. Sparring targets, trampolines and scattered lightsabers immediately gave it away as the area where Stunt Coordinator and Sword Master Nick Gillard is whipping Jedi into shape and perfecting new moves.

"Whatever happened to my 'Ask the Jedi Council' questions?" was the second thing Nick said to me when he found out I was with the website. What he said to me near the end of our introduction was, "be sure and come back around noon."

Since my body still doesn't know when it's lunchtime (it's 7 pm, right...?), I didn't have anything better to do at noon. I wandered back to the specified building, and as I climbed the stairs, I could hear the telltale rhythmic clacking. Inside the main room, four combatants were staging two separate duels, ramping up the speeds of their attacks and parries as they progressed. Electronica beats blaring from a CD player weren't so much to keep tempo, but rather to fill the echo-y room with something other than saber-hits.

For fans that keep careful tallies of the Jedi ranks, Kyle Rowling should be easily recognizable as Joclad Danva, an ill-fated Jedi seen in the Geonosian arena. He also doubled for Dooku. He was squaring off against Ben Cooke, a newcomer to Star Wars. Behind them, Michael Byrne was sparring with Hayden Christensen.

"Can we turn up the music again?" Hayden called from across the room. Rowling had turned it down so he could spell his name for me. "Oh, music? Is that what this is?" He chided, and the duels started up again.

For six weeks, Gillard's Jedi have been practicing. On the walls are printouts of animatic frames for three key set-pieces, and Nick's desk has several rough storyboards of what looks to be intense action. Also on the walls are blue laminated sheets with the nurse's name, phone number, and location of the nearest hospital.

"We're at this every day," says Nick. "Ewan will be here in a couple of weeks." Hayden pulls Nick aside to show him something that he has been working on with Michael. It's part of the duel fans have been waiting for: the falling out between master and apprentice.

"There's two things, the first is as it was choreographed, and the other is something a bit more practical," says Hayden. Sure enough, the second set of moves does flow a bit more naturally. "Go with what's easier for now, and then we'll adjust it," advises Nick.

Hayden has been practicing his skills with the lightsaber for the past three weeks. For six hours a day, it's dueling drills. For another two, it's time to workout. "It's feeling right," he says.

Nick's coded language of lightsaber moves has expanded to add 12 more. The Star Wars Insider recently did a spotlight on lightsaber techniques, but that Expanded Universe fiction had nothing to do with Gillard's catalog of combat. His favorite move? Rv3ubwt.

"So, what does that stand for?" I ask. Nick offers a translation. "But don't print that, otherwise it ruins the whole joke of my Ask Jedi Council answer."

"You know, we do get a lot of questions from fans asking if you'd write a book of lightsaber techniques," I say.

"I'd love to. No one's ever asked me," Gillard says. I make a note to pass word along to LucasBooks... which I guess I just have, by virtue of writing this journal.

"It's like a second language," smiles Nick. "One that eight people on Earth can understand."

"And even fewer can do it," adds Kyle.


06-05-2003, 05:23 PM
Return of Two Jedi - May 28 2003
Today saw the return of two featured extras as strong female Jedi. Nalini Krishan and Orli Shoshan spent the morning transforming into the Jedi warriors Barriss Offee and Shaak Ti for makeup and wardrobe tests.

Nalini showed up first, around 8:30 this morning, and Makeup Supervisor Nikki Gooley brought out her jars, brushes and reference photography of Barriss from Episode II.

"It's actually quite difficult to start following someone else's makeup, because everybody has their own thing that they do," says Nikki. Episode III is her first Star Wars assignment, and there are several returning makeup-based characters that she has inherited.

Barriss is a relatively uncomplicated job, but the particular formula that created the greenish-yellow pallor wasn't exactingly documented. That's the reason for this test.

"I'll have to match and mix a few colors to see," says Nikki. Nalini's dark complexion forms a tricky base for the yellow tones, and Nikki has to be careful not to let too much of Nalini's natural color show. "You need to cut back the warmth that's coming through to keep it a pale yellow," she explains. "You probably have to airbrush a red neutralizer over the top, and maybe use yellow-based powders rather then red-based. What I'm doing today is kind of feeling my way. Maybe in a week or so, I'll do another test, so I can then hone the products that I've got."

The most time-consuming detail of Barriss' features is the thin ribbon of diamond tattoos that streaks across the bridge of her nose. Painted in black aqua, 22 diamonds comprise the asymmetrical ribbon, with two diamonds forming the tail of one side, and one diamond the tail of the other.

"I might have a little stencil made up, even if we just airbrush it as a base and then paint it on top," considers Nikki. "So, for continuity, if there's a second unit [shooting Barriss] or something, it's always consistent."

After Nikki wrapped up and Nalini went to wardrobe, Orli Shoshan was undergoing a lengthy makeup session to turn her into the colorful Togruta Jedi Master, Shaak Ti. Unlike the makeup work for Barriss, any time prosthetic latex appliances are used, it becomes the domain of the Creatures Shop, co-headed by the shop's Creative Supervisor, Dave Elsey.

Rebecca Hunt, the Creature Shop Supervisor, called to tell me they were off to look at Shaak Ti. I met with Dave and Rebecca, and we walked in to where Orli was slowly disappearing under five elaborate pieces of latex (crown, three tentacles, and face). These were carefully applied by Kath Brown and Karen Jackson, veteran alien-crafters who had worked with Dave on "Farscape."

"This is the first, real, official Star Wars alien makeup test," says Dave. He echoes a similar challenge that Nikki is facing: piecing together hand-me-down designs. "The challenge for us is finding the right way for these things to go together, and finding out what people's thought processes were, and trying to go back and work things out again. Everything has an order in which you should put it on. If you do it yourself, it's easy because you know exactly what your plans were."

This first pass is probably the slowest, as all the unknowns are mapped and the makeup artists get a feel for how Shaak Ti comes together. With each subsequent session, the time shrinks. "This first one will probably take three hours. We usually make a guess to see how long it's going to take the next time," Dave adds.

The process is cut short, however, when Dave sees room for time-saving improvements in the Episode II design. He's decided to recast some of the prosthetics to provide a quicker, easier, more comfortable fit.

"You don't want to mess around with it too much," he says. "You want to get everything almost exactly as it was before. If you move a line or a dot or a freckle, the fans will notice. This character is going to be seen, hopefully, a little more in this Episode. We want to give it the star treatment and get the paint job really, really up to scratch and looking great. We're going to spend a lot more time on the finishing of this."

Published fiction has gone on to explain Shaak Ti's peculiar cranial anatomy as ultrasonic sensors, an obscure bit of trivia that crosses my mind as I notice Orli's ears were completely covered by latex appliances. So, I had to ask, "How well can you hear in that thing?"

"Not well," she smiles. "Not well."

More Extras, More Aliens & Moore Makeup - May 29 2003
It's another alien-filled day, as makeup tests continue in Nikki Gooley's department. In the same chair where her Padawan sat yesterday, Luminara Unduli -- or rather, actress Mary Oyaya -- undergoes a similar process. By the time I caught up with her, Nikki was scrubbing clean her test, but she did have a number of Polaroids of her work.

"I've tried three different looks," she explains. "One with a red neutralizer underneath, one with just a bright yellow, and on this one I used a completely different base, which is more of an olive-green, with a dark yellow on the top, and it was perfect. Mary said it was perfect."

Mary is next slated for a costume fitting, to see if there's any change in how her Episode II Jedi Master robes fit. After all, since Episode II, Mary had a child. She shared pictures of her beautiful round-faced baby girl with Nikki and me.

And then, completely without prompting (other than knowing why I was hovering about), she says. "I swear, a minimum three times a day, I check starwars.com. My God, I think I'm an addict."

"It's an okay addiction, trust me," I say. "You know, when I'm able to report this, which will probably be in a couple of weeks, you'll be able to officially say you're in Episode III, so that's another piece of information you can tell the fans at conventions."

"Oh, the fans are going to go ballistic!" she beams. "I went to Japan last year, and, oh my ... I didn't know I had so many fans in Japan! I had so much fun!"

Elsewhere that day, the Creature Shop took a life-cast of one of their team-members. Sandy Thompson, Creature Shop Buyer, will be playing the Neimoidian Rune Haako. To best fit the mechanical mask of Haako onto Thompson's face, his head was coated in gooey quick-drying alginate and encased in plaster, to pull an exacting mold of his features. That mold is then turned into a fiberglass duplicate of Sandy's face from which mask-fittings can be properly sculpted.

I've got a bunch of photos of the process, which I hope to spin into a multi-page step-by-step feature that will run sometime in the next... oh, two years. (That's the thing with this type of coverage. You've got to pace yourself.)

"Sandy will appreciate these photos I'm sure," says Rebecca Hunt, Creature Shop Supervisor, as she snaps digital pictures along with me.

"Has Sandy ever undergone anything like this before?" I ask, feeling a bit awkward about referring to Sandy in the third person, even though he's sitting right in front of me.

"This is the first time," says Rebecca. Dave Elsey, the Creative Supervisor of the shop adds, "And like a lot of people, he will probably vow this is his last time. But it probably won't be."

"Not if he sticks with us," Rebecca says wryly.

Another Sandy -- this time with an "i" -- shows up in the afternoon. Sandi Finlay is returning to the role of Sly Moore, Palpatine's ghostly aide first seen in Episode II. She's in Nikki's makeup chair, the last of the returning alien makeup jobs for her to test. "With the three girls (Nalini, Mary & Sandi), it's just great to be able to put something on their skin to have a starting point, without knowing exactly what was used last time," she says. "Depending on how many days Sly Moore is on, we may have some little latex pieces made so that we don't have to shave her eyebrows."

It was last Friday at 3:30 pm that Sandi got word she'd be returning to Star Wars. "I got off the phone with my agent, jumping and screaming: Yes! Sly's back!" She's next off to wardrobe to get measured, because it looks like Sly is getting some new threads for the next movie.


06-05-2003, 05:25 PM
Happy Trails, Stian - May 30 2003
It's rare when I get more than 30 minutes to talk to someone for an interview, and it's usually a faceless conversation done over the phone. Being down here now, though, and seeing the same faces every day is giving me a chance to actually get to know some of these people.

When I found out that Concept Artist Stian Dahlslett was leaving this week, I made sure to introduce myself to him. Though starwars.com has covered the Episode III Art Department, that wasn't my story, so I never got to talk to him till now.

I caught up with him yesterday, Thursday afternoon, and we chatted briefly just outside the Costumes building where he's been working for the past four months. Though the discussion was informative in a "just-the-facts" way, we had a chance to hang out later that night.

After a long day, around 8 o'clock last night, we caught a bite to eat at the Sel & Poivre, a French restaurant in Darlinghurst. We're both on the younger end of the Star Wars generation spectrum (he's 26, I'm 28) and we've each followed a strange intercontinental path thanks to the saga, but he's definitely logged more frequent flyer miles than I. Originally from Norway, Stian has traveled from Germany, where he was studying, to London, to the US and now finally to Australia thanks to Episode III.

"I started in London -- Elstree Studios, Borehamwood," he recalls. "That's where they shot the old films. It was nice to stay there for a stint and work before Christmas. Then I went to the United States after Christmas. I went to Skywalker Ranch for 14 days before I came here. So, I've actually been to all three places of the production."

It's been a blur, he says, particularly since the two weeks at the Ranch were his first time in the States. Not a bad first visit for a self-professed Star Wars fan: the Ranch, meeting George Lucas, and getting to visit Steve Sansweet's legendary Star Wars collection during his stay.

"Overwhelming," is how he describes it all. I think he's still trying to process these past few months.

"This last week has been very relaxing," he says. "The week before, I did my last drawings, so this week I just sorted things out and didn't do any artwork at all." Working with Trisha Biggar, Stian would take her general direction and begin exploring costume designs through rough thumbnail sketches. From these, Trisha would hone in on more focused direction, and Stian would tighten up his concept sketches, giving Trisha a design and shape for which she started selecting patterns.

"I'd look at the previous films, and things from costume history and get ideas from all kinds of places. I'd pick different shapes and see how you could put them together and in different contexts," he adds. Seeing Trisha and her crew translate those designs into finished costumes has been particularly exciting for Stian while in Sydney.

"It was a great experience seeing them made so precisely, so detailed, and that they worked so closely off of my drawings," he says. "That was a wonderful experience, seeing my drawings come to life. It was beautiful."

His favorite designs tend to be slightly darker, like his costume sketches for Palpatine in Episode III. "I like trying to find the multi-layered nature of the character, and at the same time the simplicity. Oftentimes costumes of evil characters are very complicated, like Darth Vader, and so simplicity and darkness at the same time was a challenge, but I liked that very much."

It was a nice, easy flowing conversation. We geeked out on an admiration of Micheal Golden and Geoff Darrow comic art, and he recommended a number of comic shops in the area. We forgot about "work" and remembered back to our childhood filled with Star Wars toys, comic books, and imagination. His favorite of the originals? Empire. "It's got the darkest parts," he says. "It's why I like this new one, too."

"So, it's worked out pretty well. We both got a chance to be out here for the last Star Wars movie," I say, and he readily concurs.

"This was my last chance, and it really worked out," he says. "I had thought about sending in my stuff before Episode II and even before Episode I, but I was very young back then. I was still studying, and I thought my portfolio wasn't good enough. I had more time to work on that, and I thought 'it's now or never.'"

On Sunday, Stian heads back to Germany. Some of his last sketches are still being developed into costumes, costumes that he won't see finished for another two years, when Episode III comes out.

Tip of the Day: On a completely unrelated note, while touring the props department, be wary of Nick Gillard throwing you a football, especially if you're carrying a digital camera. I had to make a choice: the camera or the ball. I stand behind my fumble.

The Aptly Named Jedi-Not-Appearing-In-This-Film - May 31 2003
On the walls of various department offices are printed concept sketches and reference photography helping the crew keep the strange names of the various characters straight. One print-out bares the blunt heading "JEDI NOT IN EPISODE III." There's no nice way to put this. These Jedi are rejects.

Even the most obscure Star Wars characters have a fan following, so I guess it's up to me to break the news to those loyal supporters of this ill-fated bunch. Depa Billaba, Oppo Rancisis, Even Piell, and Yarael Poof will not be in this installment. Also, word has come 'round that poor, poor Yaddle will not be in this movie.

Some of these omissions are no-brainers, since their absence from Episode II gave LucasBooks the clearance to ice Yaddle and Yarael in fiction (personally, I still think Yarael should have been taken out by a ceiling fan). There's still some hope for the others, though, since way back in 2000, Oppo and Even appeared on a similar list of "JEDI NOT IN EPISODE II." Their deaths were almost certain, until later in production when George Lucas decided to use archival photography of the Episode I Jedi Council scenes in Episode II, thus sparing Even and Oppo an untimely demise. Oppo even got a brand new computer-generated tail out of the deal. But I wouldn't hold out much hope for these Jedi to appear in Episode III.

Now, far be it from me to badmouth any Star Wars character, but I have to say their absences won't be universally mourned by the production crew. When word of Yaddle's death filtered its way Down Under, at least one crewmember who shall remain nameless muttered quietly, "Thank God." Guess it's true what they say about being green.


06-05-2003, 05:28 PM
All The World's A Stage - June 02 2003
I finally received my security badge on Friday, which gave me the confidence to wander into the various stages today. I'm sure I could have gotten away with it last week, but it's always easier to point to a badge than to answer awkward questions.

Seven enormous soundstages are currently bustling with activity, as they house sets in various... well, stages... of construction. Some structures are too incomplete to be identified, but others are obvious. A few are returning from Episode II, while at least one currently erected has been recreated from the original trilogy.

"Probably fifty percent of what you're seeing is stuff from the other films, because those were the first ones that were easy for us to dive into," says Gavin Bocquet, Production Designer.

To help me navigate this dense hive of activity, Supervising Art Director Peter Russell was kind enough to provide me a color printout of the stage rotation schedule. Each of the seven stages has color-coded information denoting which sets will occupy them and when. The weeks that shooting will occur are colored in a deep wine red, and seem impossibly close and impossibly brief to contain something as big as a movie.

The set construction benchmarks on the chart include Design Sign-Off (purple), Draughting [Drafting] (blue), Pre-Fab Construction (light green), On-Set Construction (dark green), Dressing & Rigging (orange) and Change-Over Period (yellow). Shoot days are marked in dark red.

The most recognizable construct on one stage is Padmé's Coruscant penthouse apartment, currently in the on-set construction phase (if it weren't obvious enough, the dark green on the chart would tell me so). The curving architecture is unmistakable, and the set includes the balcony and the circular bedroom. The set is being modified, however, to add an extension as dictated by the story of Episode III.

"Where she was packing and talking to Anakin in her bedroom in Episode II, we used the wardrobe alcove that was her dressing area, and put a door in the back which now leads to the new environment," says Gavin. The stairs that lead to it begin on one stage, but the rest of the stairs are on the new set, currently under construction on a second stage in a different building. "It's the old classic way of film trickery," Gavin adds. "Out one door and bring them into set another way."

Also being modified is Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's Office, undergoing construction on in yet another stage building. It now has a branching corridor leading away from the office and into a circular antechamber. "On Palpatine's, the new corridor and the little room are actually connected as a composite," says Gavin, meaning the entire environment is on one stage and not spread over two. "We're lucky, because where the door is into the corridor was the part of the set we didn't build last time. We left a third of it open to one side. So, we managed to put a door in there. You might notice, if you really analyze the DVD, that the new door is in a slightly different position--where there wasn't a door last time, but I think you'd have to be really fussy to notice that."

As much as I hate to be the last person to jump on a bandwagon, here goes. By now everyone knows the story of the "Star Wars Kid," the poor kid busted by the world doing the Jedi-equivalent of air guitar. If you don't know the story, search around the web. The bottom line is: if you don't want people seeing your lightsaber practice, don't let conniving "friends" with Internet access get their mitts on your private videotapes.
Anyway, everyone has been chuckling at this poor kid for his fourteen-and-a-half minutes of Internet fame, and with 30 seconds to spare, I shared the video with Stunt Coordinator and Sword Master Nick Gillard.

"Does he have an email address?" asked Nick.

"I don't really think he wants to be contacted," I said, "but I suppose he may visit our site."

"Well, if he does, tell him Nick says he's fantastic."

Developing the Duel - June 03 2003
One stage is mostly empty except for a parabolic curtain of bluescreen lining one wall. It now becomes the dueling arena for Michael Byrne and Hayden Christensen as they perform an intense duel. It's more than just a test-run. These combatants are being videotaped today for inclusion into the working rough cut of Episode III.

Stunt Coordinator and Sword Master Nick Gillard serves as director for this shoot. It's the latest in a series of stunt-work and sword scenes he's been shooting. His footage then gets sent back to the Editorial department at the Ranch, so that it can be cut along with animatics and storyboards into a rough assembly.

The shoot is quick and no-frills. Though Hayden and Michael are in costume, they wear wardrobe from Episode II. No hair and makeup time for them. It's a quick setup, shoot, shoot again, shoot once more if need be, and onto the next setup.

Luke Doolan runs the camera, assisted by Craig Hiron. They shoot on a Canon XL 1s mini-DV camcorder. No time for dolly tracks or steadi-cam; Luke sits in an appropriated wheelchair while Craig pushes him along. When it comes time to tape off a marker where a virtual ceiling will go, no need to wait for a ladder from another department. Just jump on Dooku-double Kyle Rowling's shoulders. That'll do the trick.

Nick watches from nearby, on a Sony television that's literally roped onto an office chair. Since the video documentary team is not yet available for this, I get shanghaied into operating Nick's personal digital Handycam. I figure it' s a good excuse to get close to the action.

Blue boxes form steps and debris. For a set-up in a curving corridor, Nick and his crew quickly assemble a makeshift set by propping up blue crashmats. I can't help but think of childhood forts made of couch cushions and pillows. It would seem like games, but the speed at which the lightsabers fly is hardly child's play.

Nick spends the morning directing the fight, working from his notes to ensure he gets all the footage he needs. "Will you be here this afternoon?" I ask Nick, to see if I can pick up any additional quotes or photos.

"I'll be here for the next four days," is his response.


06-05-2003, 05:30 PM
Last one for today...

Blue In The Face - June 04 2003
At 6'4", Matt Rowan is a big guy. When Creature Shop Creative Supervisor Dave Elsey and his crew put on three hours of prosthetic makeup, Matt makes a big senator. The corrupt and corpulent politician Orn Free Taa is once again returning to the prequel trilogy. Repeating the makeup shakedown test with Shaak Ti done last week, the Creature Shop is smoothing out the edges of this particular alien.

"We've got to make sure we know how it comes together," says Elsey. "One good thing is that, most of the time, the actors know how these go on, so we ask them how it's going to work, and they tell us. There are a lot of standard techniques, and you usually know what is going to overlap what."

Already, Dave has made an adjustment. Previously, Orn Free Taa had a foam appliance covering his lower lip that added little to the look, but did add time and upkeep. "The first thing that happens when anyone gets in makeup is that they send ‘em off to breakfast!" says Dave. "They come back with their lip hanging off with some bacon and eggs sticking out. So, we removed that piece, and it hasn't made any difference in appearance."

After 35 minutes of work, Orn Free Taa is fitting rather well, considering the mask was designed for a different actor way back in Episode I. "That's one of the things we keep encountering. This show started in England and then came over here. Some of the actors came with, and some didn't. Not everything was resculpted, and a lot of stuff was reused very successfully. Everything here is custom-fit to whoever was cast the first time around, so you end up doing a lot of stretching and fitting and making it fit. You need a lot of patience, for the person in the makeup, to sit there and allow themselves to be tugged around and have their face pulled around."

To fill in the little gaps where the pieces don't quite join, Dave carefully applies filler at the edges, smoothing it over, and then paints it to cover the seams. The acrylic paints are mixed with prosaid, the same versatile material found in the glue that secures the latex pieces, and the filler that spackles the gaps. "It's incredibly versatile," says Dave. "We also mix it in with the paints to make a paint that stays on rubber. It needs to be stretchy and really resilient, and adding prosaid to it does that."

As Dave applies the paints, Matt makes faces, stretching his features. The makeup moves with his muscles amazingly well, as if they were a natural extension of him. "I can see how expressive it is," I note. "You almost want this character to have a scene that requires it."

"He did last time," says Matt. "It just didn't make the movie cut."

"For such a big makeup, it's actually not that thick," explains Dave. "It's thin in all the right places, so you have control over your mouth and nose and brows, and all these other bits that are big fat bits here are nice and doughy and far away from the skin exactly as they would be."

"Is that hollow or is it solid latex foam?" I ask about Orn Free Taa's big pouchy jowls and double chins.

"No, there's a chamber in here which would have had a bladder full of water to give it some weight, so it jiggles when he moves," says Dave. "I hear that last time, the bladder went missing and he ended up having some socks stuffed in here to fill out the space. It probably looked kind of similar, but we'll likely go back to the gel-filled layer this year."

I should clarify that when I say Matt is big, I mean tall. He looks quite fit; Orn Free Taa's overindulgent girth is all movie magic as well. Underneath his patterned robes, Matt is wearing a fat suit, also designed for Episode I. But Dave's crew has made an essential modification for which Matt is, well, relieved.

"There's a new, improved version with a fly in it," says Dave. "Before that, he'd have to get out of everything, the whole costume and the fat suit, just to go to the toilet."


plo koon 200
06-05-2003, 11:13 PM
Can they be posted when the free trial runs out. What happens when we want to discuss stuff that is related to "exlcusive" content to hyperspace members?

06-07-2003, 04:38 AM
Here's two new ones:

Separatists & Swan - June 05 2003
"It's a day of rubber heads," describes Gillian Libbert, Costume Archivist. The upstairs dressing room of the Costume Department plays host to a number of masked extras as Separatist aliens. In most cases, it's just people coming in to be measured, since the new costumes still have yet to be fabricated. In at least one case, though, it's a fitting of an Episode II costume.

Extra Paul Nicholson will be underneath the Po Nudo mask. The Aqualish Senator-turned-Separatist and his aide are returning for Episode III. The Creature Shop has provided an unfinished slip-on Aqualish mask to see how it fits with the costume.

It doesn't. At least not well. The neckline of the mask ends rather abruptly, and any head movement on Paul's part pulls the mask out of the collar. Costume Supervisor Nicole Young takes a closer look, and checks against reference photography and a copy of the Attack of the Clones Visual Dictionary. The unfinished mask seems a bit bigger than reference, but the neck doesn't line up well. Assistant Costume Designer Michael Mooney remembers there being a longer neck to the Aqualish mask, but he admits that memory does play tricks.

They call in Dave Elsey from the Creature Shop to have a closer look. The Aqualish molds are hand-me-downs from the previous films. He agrees that the neck does end awkwardly, and tells the Costume Department that he'll add a few inches to better facilitate low collared-costumes. "You shouldn't go to too much effort for such a small part," says Costume Designer Trisha Biggar, but Dave insists it's not much work at all.

As this is settled, Paul Davies, another extra, comes in to be measured by Nicole. He's set to play an as-yet unnamed Mon Calamari. Also showing up for fittings that afternoon was Marty Wetherill, who will play Passel Argente.

Nicole tells me of a camera test earlier in the day. Digital cameras will occasionally develop strange and noisy patterns when shooting certain types of fabric and detail, so Nicole and Trisha met with Director of Photography David Tattersall for some HD camera tests.

"We're obviously sensitive about it, because you don't want hours and hours of work to go into a dress only to discover you can't photograph it," she says. "On Episode II, we did a screen test with Natalie [Portman] in a costume three days before we started shooting, and David had to tell us that it would ‘dance' on a digital camera. So, we had to cover the neckline of the Senate dress with lots of beads to distract from the moiré effect. Today, Trisha and I took some fabrics and a couple of dresses, and tested them on the digital cameras, and it looks just fine."

For any Episode III returning extras with visible features, George Lucas mandated that if the previous performer was not available, that the character simply would not be back. This was in an effort to preserve continuity and avoid creating doppelganger-Jedi like Stass Allie (she sure looks like Adi Gallia) or Agen Kolar (a successful Eeth Koth-impersonator).
Extras Casting was successful in tracking down several returning faces, but it was a close call with Mimi Daraphet. Bultar Swan almost didn't make it to Episode III. When I first got here last week, I had heard tell that she wasn't returning because, according to her agency, Mimi was in Hong Kong.

"I'm actually not with an agent anymore, as of a couple months ago," explains Mimi. "I think they must have thought I had gone overseas, which is maybe why I was departing. But, no."

Three days ago, Mimi got the call that Bultar would return. "I had thought that I wouldn't be in Episode III, because there was a possibility I had died in the last fight scene in Episode II. So, I was pretty stoked."

Mimi sits in Makeup & Hair Department, while Annette Miles, the Key Hairdresser, fits on the short wig that adds to her hair, giving her Bultar Swan's haircut. When she finishes here, she's off to Costumes, to test how her Episode II Jedi outfit fits.

I finally got a few minutes with Rick McCallum today, not for an interview, but to finally say hello to him. He's understandably busy, running the show down here and getting everything prepared for when shooting begins. We chatted briefly about summer movies (X2 is a winning favorite so far), and I explained just what it is I'm doing down here.
He's very concerned with making sure I keep things "real," have a sense of humor, and avoid the "gee, isn't everything just wonderful?" slant that typically follows movie coverage. "I'll write what I see, but so far everything's been really good," I say. "I'm not here to ask too touchy-feely Barbara Walters-type questions."

"Great. Beautiful," he says. "The more you get into what they do, the more they'll respond and open up." Rick offers the following advice for interviewing crewmembers: "The key to the English and Australian crew is that they live by wit and irony."

Name That Zabrak - June 06 2003
During the making of Episode I, there was a Jedi Council member named Eeth Koth. He's a Zabrak (the same species as Darth Maul), played by Hassani Shapi in the Council sequences. Moving prequel production from England to Australia changed the pool of available extras. Eeth Koth was slated to return for Attack of the Clones, but Hassani wasn't in Australia, so they cast locally instead. Tux Akindoyeni donned the long hair and horns, and made an impressive Jedi.

Only, he didn't really look like Eeth Koth.

Throughout Episode II production, the crew referred to him as Eeth Koth, but by the time production wrapped, it was decided that the resemblance was too far off. Thus, Agen Kolar was created as Tux's character.

Adding to the confusion was the use of archival Episode I footage in the Episode II Council sequences. This showed Hassani as Eeth Koth, and that's why he's in the credits. But the Jedi in the arena isn't Eeth Koth; it's Agen Kolar, played by Tux, who isn't in the credits.

*deep breath*

You can see where this gets confusing.

In my wanderings through the Studios, I saw numerous references to "Eeth Koth" costume fittings and makeup tests, but didn't think much of it. It made sense, after all, since all the materials used the make the character are still labeled "Eeth Koth" from the Episode I days. In the back of my head I figured, oh, that's really Agen Kolar. The story of how these two Jedi came to be is so exhaustingly confusing, that I didn't bother bringing it up. It's geeky minutiae, after all.

Today it becomes an issue. Tux is sitting in the makeup chair while Creature Makeup Technicians Kath Brown and Karen Jackson turn him into a Jedi as a test. The process for Koth and Kolar are largely the same, so the Jedi's name is a matter of semantics. To start, Tux has to shave off his goatee and sideburns to resemble what he looked like a few years back. Kath pins back his real hair, while Karen applies prosaid glue to his forehead and eyebrows.

The Eeth Koth prosthetic is a single piece, a forehead with a crown of vestigial horns, all molded out of latex. Kath had previously hand-punched synthetic fibers through the hairline, giving it a mane of hair. "It was a quick thing," she says. "It took a few hours."

A few hours? Tux and I balk at Kath's definition of ‘quick.' "Next time around, it won't be as long, but I was still trying to work out the logistics and the best way to do it. But, basically, I had to work in half-hour blocks to cope with it. To keep from going blind and stir crazy," she says.

After the forehead is glued in place, Kath and Karen apply filler glue around the seams. "We're using the prosaid glue thickened with a fine silicone-based powder to make a puddy, and we're blending the edge," says Karen. It's essential in this case since the forehead was never molded to exactingly fit Tux, so gaps are inevitable. Karen paints over this spackle with four or five alternating coats of color. Eeth Koth really starts to come together. Or Agen Kolar. Or whatever.

It's been a long a week, and it's 2 in the afternoon. Tux starts to doze off. "It's the best compliment if someone falls asleep," whispers Kath. "It means we're not inflicting too much pain."

As the two start painting on the details, the Jedi identity crisis arises with the application of the traditional Zabrak scars. As Tux points out, the Episode I and Episode II patterns are slightly different. Which Jedi is Tux supposed to be? "Well, I don't know who's call it is," I say, explaining the whole Agen Kolar / Eeth Koth deal. "But I'm guessing he's supposed to be the same guy he is in Episode II."

There are hardly any reference images of Agen Kolar. Around the makeup table are several photos of Hassani's Eeth Koth. There's an Episode I Visual Dictionary there, and printouts of Eeth Koth's databank entry. But Kolar's nowhere to be seen.

I head back to my office and grab my laptop to see if I can dig any up in our starwars.com files. I've got two, but they're very indistinct and not very helpful. Luckily, though, Creature Shop Creative Supervisor Dave Elsey brings in a photo discovered in a file of "Second Unit Creature Extras" from Episode II. It's Tux, in full Agen Kolar dress and makeup.

And sure enough it's labeled Eeth Koth. Better yet, it's labeled "Eth Koth."

Dave suggests they follow the Episode II scar patterns. Karen uses a syringe to squeeze out thin strips of paint like she's icing a cake. "Scar in a tube," she describes it.

This new Agen Kolar created this afternoon is a sort of "best of both worlds," and looks far better than previous incarnations. Though Eeth Koth's colors were more naturalistic than Agen Kolar, his scar detail seemed more theatrical than realistic. The Episode II Agen Kolar had a more complex scar pattern, but the color of his makeup was very strong, ruddy, without the life-like tones created today.

Finally the rest of hair is applied. Though the forehead piece does have Kath's hand-punched hair, an additional wig fills out Kolar's mane. Kath has taken the previous wig, which was all black, and added additional strands of highlights to make it more realistic. Agen Kolar comes together by 3:40 pm.

"It's really strange doing makeup in the afternoon," says Karen. It's true. Everyone is punchier and giddier than earlier in the week. But, hey, it's Friday, the end of a long week, and the start of a long weekend. My mind is still juggling Kath, Koth, Karen and Kolar.


06-11-2003, 07:21 AM
More Familiar Names and Faces - June 10 2003
More familiar names return to Fox Studios Australia today, as the crew gets back on track after a long weekend. The production start date at month's end looms ever closer, as more players start to take their positions for Episode III.

"The thing you have to remember about Ewan is that he doesn't pull his punches," warns Stunt Coordinator and Sword Master Nick Gillard. I nod, thinking he's talking about lightsaber combat.

Then I realize he isn't; Nick's talking about me meeting Ewan McGregor and just how open the actor may or may not be to the idea of a nosey web-guy hanging around. Ewan's not one to mince words, after all.

So, I admit it. I'm nervous, since this is my first time meeting him, and Nick's not doing much to settle my nerves. I don't know what to expect. Maybe, somewhere, in the back of my mind is the dim hope that I'll be able to someday brag, I was told off by Ewan McGregor.

Any trepidation is unwarranted. When I meet him, he looks to be in a friendly mood, and seems to be having a good time getting back into lightsaber training. Ewan had arrived this weekend, and today is his first day at work on Episode III. Not surprisingly, sword fighting is on the agenda. I hover around for a few minutes, watching as Ewan trains with the Jedi weapon. He's dressed in a simple black t-shirt, green army pants, and wears a black toque*. For those wondering, yes, he does have a full beard at the moment.

"It feels really good," he says, whipping the prop around. It's one of the new lightweight lightsabers constructed for Episode III. The sabers in this movie will be made of graphite, the same material used to make fishing rods. This makes them light, durable, and impossible to bend out of shape. The stunt performers have been taking advantage of the lighter weight to choreograph even faster moves.

"But that's not the handle, is it?" Ewan asks. The handle is an unfinished gray plastic, with a different shape than he's used to. Stunt performer Michael Byrne holds Ewan's favorite ‘saber design, the one Obi-Wan's carried since Episode I, and looks to be carrying again in Episode III. How often has Obi-Wan rebuilt that design, I wonder. "The one you've got there is old Obi-Wan's," says Nick, explaining the source of the design.

"So this would be Sir Alec's then?" Ewan asks. "Beautiful."

* That's Canadian for "knit ski-hat." It's supposed to be spelled "tuque," but even The Canadian Oxford Dictionary concedes that "toque" is the more common spelling.

Also today Sophie Fleming and Damien Martin of the Creature Shop were busy with another makeup test. This time it was Dave Bowers under the latex, once again playing Mas Amedda, Vice-Chair of the Galactic Senate. In this case, Damien was quite familiar with the makeup, since he applied it to Dave for Episode II. Bowers disappears under ten different pieces of latex. By the time I get there, they are applying the intricately mottled paint job to the Coruscant politician. With Sly Moore also slated to return, it looks as if having Palpatine as a boss provides some measure of job security.

For fans who enter endless online debates regarding the validity of the Expanded Universe as it pertains to the films, get ready for some new arguments in Episode III. A character from publishing is slated to appear in this movie.
Knowing that I'm pretty well versed in Expanded Universe lore, Costume Archivist Gillian Libbert asks me if I can find any reference imagery of this character so they can begin assembling a costume. I grab what I can from my files, and email them over to her, pointing out specific articles of interest. More on this later, but by all means, start arguing now...

So looks like Obi-Wan will be using the Eps 1 and 2 saber, but will possibly loose it at some point and get this "Sir Alec" lightsaber :).


Battle Droid
06-12-2003, 08:15 AM
More, More, More. :D

06-12-2003, 08:17 AM
Good Hair Day - June 11 2003
It almost feels like picture day at grade school, what with all the grooming going on.

When the hard-driving, fuzzy electric guitar that forms the backbone of Supernova's "Chewbacca" song can be heard in the Creature Shop, you know they're working on something good. (If you haven't heard it, pick up the Clerks soundtrack). This morning is particularly special as everyone's favorite Wookiee finally comes together.

When I first drop by, I see Lou Elsey, Fabrication Supervisor and Kristelle Gardiner hurriedly assembling an inside-out suit of Wookiee fur. Their rush wasn't dictated by the demands of the material -- they were just eager to see Chewie completed.

"It's modacrylic hair, which is basically synthetic hair, and it's knitted onto a stretchy backing, so it's got a great memory," says Lou, and she demonstrates this by grabbing a handful and stretching it out. It returns back to its original shape quickly. This new synthetic suit is an improvement over the original Wookiee-wear, which included actual yak hair in its makeup. For one thing, the material is much easier to work with, and comes in rolls that are stitched together into a suit. "It's knitted so finely that it looks like it's been knotted in," continues Lou. "It's a blend of a couple of colors. When we've made up a basic hair suit, we'll then go in and knot in individual hairs and get more definition, color and shading."

With the last arm stitched in place, Lou and Kristelle turn the fur right-side-out, and dress it onto a mannequin wearing a basic muscle suit that Peter Mayhew will wear to fill out his Wookiee physique. The mannequin's on the floor, and the artists tug the suit into place, and then prop up the towering furry dummy. (If you were spying on the webcam at 10am, June 11, you saw us doing this.)

The finishing touches are newly crafted hands, far more detailed than the originals which look like simple gloves in comparison. An original Chewbacca mask from Archives is carefully perched atop the neck, and Costume Props Supervisor Ivo Coveney drops by to provide an original bandoleer to complete Chewie. Everyone in the Creature Shop stops what they're doing to see the classic character. Producer Rick McCallum and Production Supervisor Stephen Jones drop in and express their amazement.

My ears may be deceiving me, but I'm pretty sure Chief Mould Maker Brett Beacham lets out a convincing Wookiee roar. "It had to be done," he says.

Behind one of the Makeup and Hair Department doors, Ewan McGregor sits while Color Specialist Belinda Jeffries tests out hues in his hair and beard. They discuss Obi-Wan's new look, and how much to age him, if necessary. Since Episode III is only about three years after Episode II, there won't be any extreme changes, but Ewan will be looking somewhat different in this installment.
Though Natalie Portman has yet to arrive in Sydney, work is being done on Padmé's elaborate hairstyles. Key Hairdresser Annette Miles works with Holly Stringer, Natalie's stand-in for the shoot. The headdress that Padmé will wear in this particular instance is an unfinished sample provided by Costume Props, so that Annette has something to drape the wigs and extensions around.

"We're taking quite a few photos, because she has so many to go through," say Annette. "How many have we done already today?"

"Four or five," says Holly. "And we've easily got the same amount to do for tomorrow," adds Annette. "Then George [Lucas] arrives on Monday, and we'll go through the final ones then."


Battle Droid
06-12-2003, 08:22 AM
Thanks Pendo, that was a very interesting read there. :)

06-13-2003, 03:01 AM
Can't Keep A Good Jedi Down - June 12 2003
Reports of Saesee Tiin's demise are greatly exaggerated. The horned Jedi Master was declared a Clone War casualty in a recent roleplaying game supplement, but it looks like we'll have to chalk that up to the confusion of wartime journalism. A successful makeup test this morning means that Tiin's back for more in Episode III.

Kenji Oates is the third performer beneath the Saesee Tiin makeup so far, picking up where Khan Bonfils and Jesse Jensen left off. It's a side project for Kenji, since he's busy during the day as the Network Assistant keeping JAK's computers connected. He's the guy who keeps my laptop in touch with Skywalker Ranch.

"So, what happens if you get an IT support call during this?" I ask as Kenji starts undergoing the test. Creature Shop Creative Supervisor Dave Elsey suggests that old standby, the Jedi Mind Trick. "You don't want to have your computer fixed," he deadpans. "These are not the files you're looking for."

The Saesee Tiin makeup has six main ingredients. The two horns are attached to the head beforehand. After the head is glued in place comes the face. Next is the forehead and finally the chin. As with previous makeup tests, Elsey and Foam Lab Supervisor Colin Ware fill in any gaps and carefully paint over any seams.

Kenji has to sit still as the latex pieces are secured to his face. Later, he can stretch his features to test out the mask's flexibility, but at this stage he has to remain immobile. It's a challenge, and Jack Black isn't helping. That is, the bawdy lyrics of Tenacious D on the CD player risk cracking him up.

"This is our test to see if he can cut it as a Jedi," laughs Colin. Not even a Jedi Master can resist the power of the D. By the time we get to cautionary song "Karate," Kenji starts chuckling. But the face is secure, and they've already moved onto painting. The makeup test is complete in two hours, and it looks very impressive.

"It'll go even faster as soon as we get rid of the ‘umm-factor,'" says Dave. "That's where you stand back and look at the makeup and say, ‘ummm...' for a second because you don't know what happens next." There aren't many of those pauses, though. Having worked together for years, Colin and Dave have developed an unspoken rhythm and pattern that keeps the test moving.

There are a few hiccups to be smoothed out for the next round, though. First, the horns are fixed into the sockets incorrectly; another quarter turn or so should get them pointing in the right direction. "When I try to look down, I stab myself in the chest," notes Kenji. Not exactly an ideal weakness for a Jedi.

Second, as with the Orn Free Taa makeup, the Saesee Tiin face has a foam latex piece that covers the lower lip but doesn't add much except hassle. "Often the person who sculpts the piece is not the same person who glues it into place, so they may get carried away and add bits that aren't needed," explains Dave. So they will remove the excess piece.

Third, Dave is considering fitting Kenji with new teeth that will better fit Saesee's fierce countenance. Since Tiin's teeth have not been seen previously, this gives the Creature Shop some flexibility in designing something new. Finally, the CD started skipping during the epic "City Hall" cut, testament to how often it's been played.

So how did Kenji end up as Saesee Tiin? It wasn't his idea. "I think these guys are to blame for that," he says.

"We were without the same actor, but we had his lifecast," explains Colin. "So we had to find someone who has the right physiognomy to fit inside. And you'd been in for two or three days earlier, and we said, 'Yes! Let's give it a go! Give him a ring and see if he'll do it!' I must say, except for minor bits around the mouth which we'll correct with new teeth, it's a pretty darn good match."

In much the same way Production Designer Gavin Bocquet's department tackled previously existing sets first, the Creature Shop has been focused on testing old makeup designs during these early weeks before production. They are, of course, working on new aliens, but these returning ones are easier to complete first. A new face on an old design is also being worked on. Amid the news of returning Jedi, fans have been wondering if their other favorite green Jedi is coming back.

Kit Fisto is indeed slated to return, but the Creature Shop is sculpting a brand new head for him. There are two main reasons for this: this new head will be even more detailed, so it can withstand tight close-ups should the shooting require it. And there will be a new performer underneath the tentacle-tressed mask. Episode III will require a trained stuntman to play Kit, so a new life-cast was made of the performer, and the new mask is being sculpted to ensure a perfect fit.

Kit Fisto is returning :D!!!


Battle Droid
06-13-2003, 06:22 AM

06-14-2003, 05:59 AM
Preparing for GWL - June 13 2003
As the week draws to a close, many departments have wiped away the last seven days from their dry-erase boards, leaving "GWL" written on the upcoming week. Those three letters signify that George Lucas is set to arrive on Monday to start his time down here in Sydney. That means a working weekend for some to tie up loose ends for the director's walk-through next week.

For the Art Department, it will largely be business as usual. Early Monday morning George is scheduled for a tour of the various sound stages alongside Producer Rick McCallum, Production Designer Gavin Bocquet, Supervising Art Director Peter Russell, Art Director Ian Gracie, Director of Photography David Tattersall and 1st Assistant Director Colin Fletcher. After that, meetings are scheduled every second day if required. These will replace the video-conferencing that has been the norm the past few months. Since the people involved have stayed very much in touch across the ocean, George's arrival isn't expected to change much about the sets, but his actually walking through them could inspire new ideas and directions.

I can spot significant progress in my stroll through the sets today. Palpatine's office and connecting corridors now have the familiar red walls. The Jedi Council chambers are coming together. A new starship bridge sharing the same stage as Padmé's apartment looks almost finished, with greenscreen hangings suspended over it.

For other departments not privy to weekly video-conferencing, having George present will answer many questions and clarify many unknowns. All works in progress will be presented for his approval and comments.

Hair and Makeup are showing photos of their various tests to him; Hayden Christensen is slated for a full makeup test on Monday for his Episode III look. In the Costume Props Department, the rapidly approaching first day of shooting has allowed Supervisor Ivo Coveney to better prioritize projects. Knowing what's required for the first week of shooting lets him allocate and schedule the correct amount of time and effort on pieces like Padmé's headdresses and a suit of alien military armor.

The Creature Department is one of the newest on the lot; since it was a fairly late decision to have a dedicated Creature Shop. As a result, they may not have as many new creations to display as other departments, but this week has produced a number of milestones.

Ewan McGregor was in the Creature Shop yesterday, and had a lifecast done of his head and hands. Since he couldn't shave off his beard, the lifecast had to include it, which doesn't translate very well. He was originally slated for a full body cast, but that plan changed. A suitable double was found for Ewan's body for that.

Creative Supervisor Dave Elsey spent much of today "shaving" the clay beard off the head-cast, reproducing a replica of a clean-shaven Obi-Wan to allow the Creature Shop to do their makeup work for an effect needed early in Episode III.


Jedi Clint
06-16-2003, 02:49 AM
"suit of alien military armor" - Interesting!

"Ewan McGregor was in the Creature Shop yesterday, and had a lifecast done of his head and hands. Since he couldn't shave off his beard, the lifecast had to include it, which doesn't translate very well. He was originally slated for a full body cast, but that plan changed. A suitable double was found for Ewan's body for that. Creative Supervisor Dave Elsey spent much of today "shaving" the clay beard off the head-cast, reproducing a replica of a clean-shaven Obi-Wan to allow the Creature Shop to do their makeup work for an effect needed early in Episode III."

- Clean shaven? Creature shop? Full body life cast? Life casts can be scanned and used for computer fx, but the creature shop makeup work has me thoroughly intrigued!!!! If it's an effect needed early in E3's timeline, then it must have something to do with final battle of the clone wars. If not, then it could simply be needed early on in the production of the film. Either way, the creature shop aspect of this news is excellent food for speculation!

Darth Marra 54
06-16-2003, 03:29 PM
Thanks for the info Pendo please keep it coming

06-17-2003, 07:52 PM
Thanks Pendo:D

I'd say Obi-Wan is clean-shaven in the beginning of EIII,possibly due to his role as a General?:confused:

06-18-2003, 02:52 AM
Well I won't be posting any more of the Set Diary. Sorry guys :(...

Originally posted by InsaneJediGirl
I'd say Obi-Wan is clean-shaven in the beginning of EIII,possibly due to his role as a General?:confused:

I got the impression they made a the Obi-Wan lifecast clean-shaven because the beard wouldn't turn out too good, and maybe they'd add on a new beard later. It could be cool to see him clean shaven again though, but I think he looks more like Obi with the beard :).


06-18-2003, 10:04 AM

06-18-2003, 10:22 AM
Probably due to the agreement that all of us who join Hyperspace have to agree to. It says we're not allowed to repost exclusive content anywhere. It's on every page over at Hyperspace. Lucasfilm can come down hard on Sir Steve, if people post the content here. Not to mention the fact the person posting them, would likely lose their Hyperspace Account and could also be in for a heap of legal problems.

Episode III Set Diary text and images are copyright © 2003 Lucasfilm Ltd. and may not be reposted in any form or medium.

Jar Jar Binks

plo koon 200
06-18-2003, 10:26 AM
I'm not going to post anything from the diary but it mentions Lucas visited a set and that set was the last one they filmed for the original. Who knows what the last scene they filmed was because if we know then we will know what one of the sets is.