Tom Spina spends a lot of time around werewolves. Last year he did some major restoration on “Oscar” from An American Werewolf in London, and now he’s just completed a custom mannequin to display an original Underworld: Rise of the Lycans werewolf costume (scroll down a bit for the link) for a private collector. Tom contacted me to let me know about this project, thinking that readers of Werewolf News might find it interesting, and he also kindly took the time to answer a few questions I had for him about the project.
Werewolf News: In what condition was the costume when you first received it from the client? Had it seen production use, and been banged up at all?
Tom Spina: The costume saw extensive use in the film (and we verified that with someone on-set who could ID this particular costume) and the condition was actually very good.
Beneath the fur, there’s a lot of skin exposed, and not a lot of places to hide seams. How many pieces did the costume break down to, and did you have to do anything out of the ordinary to create such a seamless result?
Some minor cracks and rubs but still supple and flexible. It breaks down into 4 pieces: The bodysuit with attached arms, the stilt feet (seem hidden by fur) and the head. Our responsibility was to find a means of displaying an otherwise awkward and difficult costume to display. The nature of the costume required some careful planning when creating the support structure, as a “normal” mannequin would never be able to navigate its way inside the bodysuit.
What level of creative freedom did you have when it came to determining the pose and the details of the base? Were there any other aspects of the project that allowed you to add some creative, personal touches?
As always, we worked closely with the client to determine the pose. That process is always a balance between the look desired and the needs of the wardrobe. In this case, dealing with foam and such, you don’t want anything overly extreme, as you can cause unnatural wrinkles in the suit. We settled on something with “quiet menace” rather than dynamic action. There’s a bit of attitude in the torso and some more in the head positioning, with the legs and arms at interesting angles, but relatively neutral to keep the costume’s skin properly aligned and supported. The base was the client’s idea and something we actually consider temporary. Eventually, we’ll likely do a dark stone block look for the base.
Is it tough to say goodbye to a piece when it’s finished and the client ships it out?
YES, it’s always tough to say goodbye to these pieces!
As always, incredible work, Tom! Thanks for sharing your time and work with us werewolf fans.