What It Takes To Be A Hollywood Creature Performer | Movies Insider

What It Takes To Be A Hollywood Creature Performer | Movies Insider



even when a character is created completely with CGI that doesn't mean an actor is out of the job the recent live-action version of Dumbo featured a computer animated version of the titular tiny big eared elephant and the recent Dumbo might have felt more real to you than the average visual effects creation this guy this is Edmund he's a creature performer and has been since he was 14 years old you might not know his face but you've seen him on screen before under heavy prosthesis or CGI he played Dougal in fantastic beasts and where to find them a body double for one of the dwarves and Snow White and the Huntsman and one of the caretakers in Star Wars the last Jedi creature performers are actors who specialize in playing all sorts of characters whether real or fantasy monster animal typically this involves an actor under heavy makeup or in a full-body suit a strange dog on top is kind of like to be there and to give a performance of the CG creatures or maybe might be in a full prosthetic suit um it varies from job to job to play Dumbo Osmond wore no prosthesis just a few simple suits because Dumbo was created with CGI it was his movement not his look that was needed here MPC film one of the VFX companies that worked on Dumbo said that having an actor there in a green suit helped director Tim Burton with shot composition so why not just use a simple puppet or stuffed animal or even just a head on a stick well actually they did use what's known as a stuffy for a few scenes these objects help the crew figure out the lighting and camera angles they also had an additional photo realistic Dumbo sculpt which was used mainly for lighting references on the skin but having an actor there in a suit helped make it easier to create Dumbo's movements especially for some of the movie's more difficult shots in fact they worked so closely with the actor that visual effects supervisor Richard stammers could talk directly to Osmond via an earpiece while he performed they couldn't get every little thing from Osmonds performance alone Dumbo's expressiveness was truly a CGI marvel it took Osmond some time before he was ready to play Dumbo and getting to play a baby elephant even one created with CGI isn't easy movement was perhaps the key element in nailing down this convincing and invisible creature performance I mean you're gonna quit no matter what you do lose all your inhibitions and just go for it Osmond had about four weeks to train and worked about two to three hours per day just walking around on these arm extensions which are often used for actors portraying a character who walks on all fours he had to be prepared for long day's onset of walking exclusively on extensions the struggle would be on the sanctions days if you don't get the rhythm right if you don't do right arm left leg you end up walking like a table and the play Dumbo he couldn't simply walk around Osmond really had to move like an elephant every animal has its own unique movements and mastering those movements can make or break a creature actor's performance for instance he played a gorilla in 2013's Tarzan 3d in which he donned a motion capture suit walking like a gorilla and walking like an elephant are two completely different skills gorillas tend to leave with one shoulder while walking or running they can also walk on just their back legs and hold their head similar to humans while moving very heavy on shoulders so it means when you walk in your arm your arm extensions you really do have to kind of lead with your arms which is you can imagine as humans is pretty uncomfortable when you're used to walking on your back legs in general a gorillas movements are very similar to humans thus making them easier to emulate elephants are not as easy to mimic Osmond had to create the same shape of an elephant with his body meaning he was always faced down with his eye line to the floor and on top of all that he was portraying a baby elephant if you take on a job and you're betraying a grown-up characters it's quite simple because with adult creatures or animals or humans they're always quite certain in the way they walk they have a clear direction where they want to go and they're very certain in their movement whereas with a baby character like Dumbo the beauty of it is is they're a sporadic they have such a short attention span you know they might do a couple of steps one way and then all of a sudden they decide they want to go another way while training he watched hours of footage of real elephants to get a sense of how they move he also closely watched the original animated Dumbo movie he took a lot of inspiration from the film but it wasn't necessarily the best way to learn how a baby elephant moves when he watched the original cartoon Dumbo is very light on his feet and he's got these little flicks and he's very he's very Disney guide and he's very light getting the movements down was also important for another reason making the cast feel like they're working alongside a real elephant Osmonds interactions with the actors were key even though he doesn't have a single line of dialogue the sounds Dumbo does make aren't even him osmond also spent as much time as possible off-camera bonding with the cast especially the younger cast members so their sense of wonder about Dumbo on camera would appear even more convincing one big factor affected how he interacted with the rest of the cast his suits being a creature actor also involves wearing a lot of different suits for this movie alone Osmond wore three versions the first suit was called a performance suit this suit is built to look just like the character it was used for scenes where the actors needed to know the exact size of Dumbo so for example in a scene in which the actor is touching the elephant then there was the more bare-bones costume which they called the ant-man costume on set this outfit came with attachable ears and gave Osmond easier movement it came in handy during scenes that involved running or even a landing because Osmond was walking on all fours he was facing the ground most of the time to help him see directly in front of him the effects team installed a camera rig inside these suits that would give him a live feed of what was happening right in front of him the final suit was a special waterproof bath suit which was made to get wet during the scene where Dumbo is getting bathed this was especially difficult for Osmond in this full-size suit which also meant I couldn't hear the director when he shout action shout cut since the suit was made to get soaked they couldn't have a camera rig inside one of the actors in this scene would give Ostman a tap on the back to let him know his cue each suit came in different colors which were used depending on the shot for instance in the scene were Dumbo's given a bath they used a black costume as it allowed the VFX team to separate Osmond from the foam easier and while it might look like he got erased from the shots he was in his performance couldn't be more important even when they don't have any lines don't forget the people behind the creatures

33 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *