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We’re on the red carpet here for Super 8 with Neville Page the creature designer. Neville, did writer and director JJ Abrams have a very specific thing in mind for the creature when he approached you?
The one specific thing was the most terrifying thing – he wanted something that was iconic, has never been seen before and absolutely fierce, provocative and scary and new. Whenever you hear new – oh, that one again. How am I gonna do it? So it was intimidating, yeah.
Obviously in the script the creature had to be able to do certain things and perform certain actions. Was that also a consideration when you were designing it?
A huge consideration. Form follows function, if you’re designing an aeroplane it better have wings. So it needed to dig, it needed to disassemble, it needed to assemble. All these are things it has to do. Some of them were contradictory to how the creature would be, so trying to consolidate and create an amalgam of all these requirements was challenging. And also making it new and fierce, etc, it was a tall order.
Aside from Super 8, what’s your favourite monster movie?
My favourite is and I think always will be Alien. HR Geiger’s Alien and Ridley Scott’s Alien, I still consider the movie the perfect movie for so many reasons. But that creature in its day was so incredibly unique and if you’re familiar with Geiger’s work – you should, because it’s some amazing stuff – it’s incredible that he owns an aesthetic. And I can only dream of creating something and developing my craft so well that I can own an aesthetic.
So what was it like to work on Prometheus then?
Just sitting in the same room as Ridley Scott and having a coffee, that would have been enough. I’d have been satisfied with that experience. But to work on it for a year as one of the designers – kind of unbelievable. Because it’s the journey, I don’t know what the end result is yet, I can only imagine. With Ridley you can just let go and trust that it’s going to be phenomenal. But the joy of working with him and having meetings with him about the stuff that I had done is truly… I can almost end my career now and go, I’m happy. I’ve done what I need to do, moving on.
And are we going to see your work on Avatar and Star Trek sequels as well?
I hope so. With Avatar there’s no confirmation, to me at least, of when it’s going to happen. I believe it is going to happen. Star Trek, I’m ready for it to happen – poised and ready, my pencils are sharpened. Anything that JJ’s got. I just hope there’s no conflict of time, that would be horrible. I don’t know what I’d do.
And you’ve been working on 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea as well. What can you tell us about that? What’s the Nautilus going to look like?
You know what, that production ended some time ago. It kills me because that’s one of my favourite films as well, but designing creatures for that and to work on those creatures – pretty phenomenal. But it went belly up after they had designed a Nautilus, which was extremely cool and I wish I could tell you more about it but they might resurrect it so gotta be hush hush.