Killer Hippo - Stan Winston - Set Construction - Makeup


For the effects film 'Congo' Producer Kathleen Kennedy and her husband Director Frank Marshall 
enlisted Industrial Light & Magic for the visual effects (rocket fire, earthquake and volcano 
effects) and Michael Lantieri for all the physical and interactive effects needed.
The very famous Stan Winston Studio, Production Supervisors John Rosengrant and Shane Mahan, 
had the challenging task to design all the Gorillas and a few rampaging hippos.
We take a look at the dreaded 'Congo-Killer', the hippo.

Director Frank Marshall, Producer Kathleen Kennedy and Producer Sam Mercer visiting the 
Stan Winston Studio to see the latest works of art of Stan Winston (photo).
Stan shows them a set of finished gray gorilla heads. These are the guardians of Zinj.

Producer Kathleen Kennedy and Director Frank Marshall with Stan Winston and some finished gray heads.
Puppeteer and mechanical department Supervisor Richard Landon (center) and his crew showing to 
Stan Winston the manifold radio-controlled facial articulation of the Gorilla heads (eyes, mouth,...).
Each Gorilla head has a carbon fiber underskull that held a bunch of servo motors to drive the 
radio-controlled facial articulation. 
The 'Congo-Killer'. In a rubber dinghy on the Ragora River ......if that goes well?
The camera crew standing in the water filming a rafting scene. 
In the darkness lurks the Killer!
Suddenly a Hippo breaks the surface and charges, water spewing everywhere.
The rampaging Hippo, mounted on an underwater track, does not like visitors.
The Stan Winston boys worked jointly with the crew of Physical Effects Supervisor Michael Lantieri 
on the Hippo sequence.
Movie scene with the Hippo.
This crazy hippo has large appetites. Mmmh, what a sweet little raft...
An excellent creature effect.
A well-fed Hippo dives away...
Full-size 'underskull' of the Hippo head (fiberglass) with a steel understructure. 
Hydraulic mechanisms will be placed inside for the body movements.
Tim Nordella was responsible for the internal structure and mechanization.
John Rosengrant produced the body of the Hippo and Joey Orosco the head.
An excellent sculpture, very close to reality. The Hippo fiberglass 'underskull' got a silicone skin.
Stan Winston examines the eyes of the Hippo with Key Artist Mark Jurinko.
The hydraulically-powered Hippo in in the Paramount tank, a water-filled parking lot.
The mechanical Hippo was nicknamed 'Petal' by Stan Winston's crew.
The Stan Winston Creature Shop did the sculpting and all the head and body articulation.
Physical effects Supervisor Michael Lantieri built the underwater rigging needed to move 
'Petal' forward on a track system mounted in the water tank and developed the heavy 
hydraulics for the Hippo movement. 
Together the boys manage an authentic life-size Hippo which can break the surface at a 
specified fixed point and looks like the real thing. Mission accomplished!
Stan Winston with a walkie-talkie monitors his rampaging Hippo and gives instructions to his team of puppeteers.
Several 'floater' hippos with limited articulation (just ears) were built without feets.
These 'Hippo rafts' were dragged around in the water.
A few full-body Hippos were built which could stand in the background. 
These puppets represent the peaceful hippo herd.
The Paramount parking lot has been dressed to look like a lagoon of an African River.
With painted backdrop and a real little sandy shore with trees.
The parking lot lagoon - Paramount Water Tank.
Director Frank Marshall (sitting) put a colorful ensemble together. 
Guys like Tim Curry (photo) or the vigorous Safari Guide Monroe Kelly (played by Ernie Hudson).
It's always a pleasure to see Joe Don Baker in a supporting role. 
Mr.TraviCom stands in front of his futuristic TraviCom company building. 
The crew used the brand new Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Baldwin Park, California, as location.
Production Designer John Michael Riva and DOP Allen Daviau setup a shot in the jungle.
Director of Photography Allen Daviau and Director Frank Marshall.
The Producers Kathleen Kennedy and Sam Mercer are talking with the world-famous author 
Michael Crichton (standing in the middle).
Veteran Production Designer John Michael Riva ('Lethal Weapon') discusses a 'Zinj' 
illustration of Tom Cranham with Art Department Coordinator Carol Kiefer.
The famous illustrator Jack Johnson (photo) and Tom Cranham were hired to render preliminary sketches.
Assistant Art Director Robert Woodruff built models of several different Zinj sets.
Three dimensional foam and clay models, all finessed by hand.
The photo shows Robert at work on a big 'Zinj' model. Illustrations by Jack Johnson and Tom Cranham.
Construction coordinator Terry Scott had a crew of over 100 under his supervision to built the 
colossal 'Zinj' sets on stage 15 and 30 at Sony Studios.
Here we see the 'styrofoam crew' working on the rough structure of a Zinj Set. 
It looks a bit wild, with many foam parts flying around.
The sets were built mainly of foam, plaster and wood.
Sculpting a Zinj foam building. Dancing with a chainsaw, Sculptor Tom Pottage.
Sony Studios, Stage 15 - The lost city of Zinj under construction.
Wow, what a huge set! A special crew is taking care of the effects work needed in the sets.
Parts of the Sets were built on plates above ground for special earthquake effects (ILM).
Due to the size and scope of the incredible Sets, their construction was complicated and time-consuming.
Industrial Light & Magic visual effects Supervisor Scott Farrar and interactive effects 
Supervisor Michael Lantieri designed some large-scale effects inside and around the enormous Zinj Sets.
Amy, the seven year old Gorilla, is a major character in the film adaptation of the Michael Crichton novel. 
The Stan Winston boys did a great job to create a realistic Gorilla suit with a radio controlled 
animatronic head capable of a variety of facial articulation.
It took three external puppeteers and the performer to deliver the complex movements of Amy.
The Team trained the performance for several months. 
Amy is much more than just an actress in a hairy suit.
Dr. Fang at work on the carnassials - Carbon fiber underskull.
Actors with arm extensions made of steel and aluminum will bring the gray gorillas to life.
The heads of the gray Gorillas are a bit simpler, without the servo action eyes.
The gray gorilla performers wore contact lenses. Because of that only 2 puppeteers were 
needed to operate each gray gorilla.
Amy tried to scare an African Bullfrog. But these guys are tough...
Animal Wrangler Jules Sylvester with his African Bullfrog. 
Jules is an expert for African creatures and was hired to populate Zinj and its jungle with 
authentic African wildlife including lots of insects. Hungry mosquitoes circled around the players.
Happy hunting!
Creative makeup designer Christina Smith and makeup artist Matthew Mungle were responsible for the 'Mizumu' makeup. 
The Set Decorators and Art Department transformed the 'Descanso Gardens' (Los Angeles) in the 
african Mizumu Forest for these scenes.
The makeup, a glycerin based pigment, looks like a mixture of grease and ashes.
Key hair stylist Judy A.Cory and assistant hairdresser Susan Schuler design the hair of the Mizumus.
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