Interview with Rachel Griffin, special makeup effects artist on the Nick Fury FOX tv movie
Late in 2004, I contacted Rachel Griffin to answer a few questions on her work and her experiences on the Nick Fury television movie.
Humberto M. Ferre'

Rachel Griffin: A special make-up effects artist since 1986, Griffin has established herself as one of the most in-demand FX artist in Canada, working on such science-fiction films as The Chronicles of Riddick, Final Destination 2, and Snow White. She also sports a long list of television series credits, such Millennium, Wolf Lake, Dark Angel, and current Sci-Fi channel hits Stargate and Stargate: Atlantis, for which she has earned several prestigious Leo awards. You can find her website spotlighting her work at Rachel Griffin Make-Up F/X


How did you get your start in the industry? Were you always interested in make-up FX?
I was always interested in special effects. I remember when I was very young being taken to a horror movie, It must have been a Godzilla movie or something but it sacred the crap out of me. Years later when I saw Star Wars I was hooked on doing F/X work for film. I started in film school then dropped out and ended up in makeup school.

How did you come to work on the Nick Fury movie?
I was working for Lindala MakeupF/X and it was one of the shows the company got to work on.

Were you at all familiar with Nick Fury before working on the movie? Are you a comic book fan?
I have loved comics since I was a kid, I use to read all kinds of comics and grew up with Sgt. Rock and others. I really was not that familiar with the Nick Fury comic until I worked on the show. I learned to draw by copying comic scenes.

What kind of work did you do on the movie? Where you involved with the Life Model Decoy at all?
I did Armim Zola's make-up and helped make the frozen Baron Von Strucker and the life decoy model. We did a makeup on David Hasselhoff for green screen to be composted on to the body. We cast body builder to make the body because I guess he had bigger muscles. David had prosthetics to cover his eyebrows why I can't seem to remember but it did look a little silly.

What was the set like?
We filmed the Hydra lair in a old abandoned mine called Britannia Mines near Squamish B.C. It was dark and damp. We had to wear hard hats in case something fell on our heads. The weather was horrible because it was shot during winter and rained most of the time.

At the time, FOX promoted the film as the most "expensive" tv-movie made to date. Did you get the impression that it was an expensive production?
The budget was decent and they definitely put lot of money into the sets.

How do you feel about how the movie turned out?
I watched the movie many years ago but remember it looked great. The CGI was just in the beginning stages so some of it was not as good as today's standards but worked well for the show.

In interviews for the movie by cast and crew, there was mention of hope for future films; did you ever hear any talk about follow-ups to the movie? Would you have been up for more if asked?
We were told at the time they were pushing for a TV series and that this was to be the pilot. I had fun working on the show and looked forward to doing the series. I guess it cost too much and did not attract the audience they needed. It was one of the first comic books to be made in to a movie and I think that today it would do much better then when it was released. David Hasselhoff may not have been the best choice for Nick but at the time he was a hot property.





On your portfolio I see a number of Leo awards for make-up for your work on Stargate. What is the Leo award and can you talk a little about working on the Stargate series. Are you involved in the spin-off Atlantis?
The Leo Award is an award for the shows made in Western Canada. I have worked on Stargate SG1 for years and feel like part of the family. I have also worked on the spin-off Atlantis doing the Wraith warriors. Atlantis has a bigger budget then Stargate with a new crew but has done very well so far. I am going back to Stargate next year. They are making some big changes in the show and I hope it will be accepted well by the fans and continue on for a few more years.

I saw on your portfolio that you worked on the Pitch Black sequel; I'm in the minority that thought it was a pretty good film; what were your experiences on that film like?
I just watched the directors cut and it was a lot better then the one they showed in the theaters. When the movie was shot it was about 3 hours long and explained the history and mythology of each world. The studio made the cuts thinking it was way to long and that killed the movie and it bombed. It was to be the first in three movies which will probably never get made now. I was only on the show a short time the monster we made was for an alternate beginning. The Mercs are looking for Riddick and you see the feet of a monster and you think they are being attacked by it but it is really Riddick. Then you see he has butchered the monster for it's fur and he is wearing it's feet as boots. I think the reason it might have been cut is because the head of the monster looked a little silly but we built it from drawings the art department supplied us so I am not sure what really happened. I thought it might be seen in the deleted scenes on the DVD but no luck.

My brother is a die-hard B-5 and Sliders fan and I would be remiss if I didn't ask you about your work on those two shows. What was it like and are you a fan of either one?
I watched B-5 for years and was thrilled to get the chance to get to work on it. Again it was suppose to be the pilot for a new series and even though it did very well the series never happened. Sliders was a great show and I only did one episode but had fun doing it.

In the 80's following movies like American Werewolf in London and The Thing, every horror-obsessed kid wanted to be the next Rick Baker or Rob Botin. Nowadays it seems like the kids want to break into computer FX. How do you feel about the impact of CGI on special effects and make-up FX in particular?
Well I am learning to do digital F/X know myself, years ago I made to choice to go into makeup F/X but wanted to get into CGI so I am playing a bit of catch-up. I think that a combination of both is the best way to go the computer taking over where the makeup can not go.

What projects are you working on now?
I have been working on Underworld II. I just did a week of nights up Mt. Seymour we are shooting the flash back scene that will help tell the history of the war between the Vampires and Werewolf's. Patrick Tatopoulos in doing the makeup F/X again and I have been in awe of the werewolves; they are incredible.


Enormous thanks to Rachel Griffin for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions.