Collection Close-Up: Rick Baker
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Collection Close-Up: Rick Baker


Baker:
MY DREAM FROM THE TIME I WAS — EVEN BEFORE I WAS
10 YEARS OLD — WAS TO BE A MAKEUP ARTIST
AND TO WORK IN FILMS. IT WAS A PRETTY CRAZY DREAM TO
HAVE, ESPECIALLY AT THAT TIME. YOU KNOW,
THERE WEREN’T MAKEUP SCHOOLS. THE INFORMATION
WASN’T OUT THERE. I DIDN’T DO A LOT OF THINGS
THAT NORMAL KIDS DID. I WAS IN MY BEDROOM
MAKING MONSTERS. I JUST FEEL SO FORTUNATE THAT I MANAGED TO MAKE IT MY JOB
AND GET PAID FOR IT. OKAY, WE’RE HERE IN MY STUDIO, WHICH I’VE HAD
FOR ALMOST 20 YEARS. I SET THIS UP JUST BECAUSE
THE STUDIO I HAD BEFORE WAS JUST TOO SMALL FOR THE WAY
FILMS WERE STARTING TO BECOME. IT’S BIG ENOUGH TO DO ALL THESE
FILMS THAT WERE COMING ALONG, AND AT THE TIME,
IT REALLY WAS WORTH IT. I MEAN, WHEN I DID
“PLANET OF THE APES” OR WHEN I DID “THE GRINCH,”
WHEN I MADE 500 APES, AND I HAD
ALL THESE MULTIPLE PIECES FOR THE WHOS AND FOR THE GRINCH, AND I HAD 100-PLUS EMPLOYEES,
THIS PLACE WAS GREAT. THE BUSINESS HAS CHANGED. I MEAN, SO MUCH OF OUR WORK
HAS GONE TO THE DIGITAL REALM. NOW, 20 YEARS LATER, MY STUDIO IS TOO BIG
FOR WHAT FILMS HAVE BECOME, SO I’M IN THE PROCESS OF STARTING TO GET RID
OF A LOT OF STUFF. I WANTED TO DO A STUDIO THAT WAS
UNLIKE ANYBODY ELSE HAD, SO I DECORATED IT
WITH MY OWN BIZARRE TASTE, WHICH YOU CAN SEE HERE. WE’VE GOT FLYING MONKEYS AND MONKEY HEADS
ALL OVER THE PLACE. YOU CAN SEE ALL ALONG THE TOP
OF THE ROOM HERE, WE HAVE LIFE CASTS OF OLD
MOVIE ACTORS THAT I REALLY LIKE. THIS WAS MY VERY FIRST LIFE CAST
OF ME WHEN I WAS 13 YEARS OLD. THIS IS ME WHEN I WAS LIKE 16. WHEN YOU MAKE SOMETHING AND YOU SPEND SO MUCH TIME
CREATING SOMETHING, YOU BECOME ATTACHED TO IT, AND SO I’VE MANAGED TO COLLECT
A LOT OF JUNK OVER THE YEARS. YOU KNOW, TO ME, STILL, THE MOLDS AREN’T PRETTY
TO LOOK AT, AND THEY’RE A PAIN TO STORE, BUT IT’S WHAT THE THING
CAME OUT OF AND WHAT I COULD CAST
ANOTHER VERSION OUT OF IF I EVER WANTED TO, AND IT’S PART
OF A MOVIE’S HISTORY, AND SO IT’S HARD FOR ME TO
ACTUALLY THROW THOSE THINGS OUT. I DO THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO KEEP AND PRESERVE
SOME OF THESE ITEMS. IT JUST SEEMED A SHAME TO ME FOR SOMETHING
THAT SOMEBODY WOULD TREASURE TO JUST BE ROTTING IN A BASEMENT WHERE NOBODY’S
EVER GONNA SEE IT. I AM HOPING TO FIND
A NICE HOME FOR IT. I WOULD LIKE THE ACADEMY MUSEUM
TO GET SOME OF THESE ITEMS. I WOULD LIKE FOR THESE THINGS
TO LIVE ON PAST MY LIFETIME AND FOR SOMEBODY TO BE ABLE TO COME AND SEE
SOMETHING THAT I MADE AND BE IMPRESSED BY IT STILL,
LONG AFTER I’M GONE, SO I THINK THE ACADEMY MUSEUM
WOULD BE A GOOD PLACE FOR THAT.

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16 thoughts on “Collection Close-Up: Rick Baker

  1. It makes me so indescribably sad that Baker has to get rid of that beautiful, beautiful space. I can't even tell you how much I would love to tour that place and be in the same space as so many of those molds and props from amazing flicks. Rick Baker rules.

  2. So freaking cool. They preserve Picasso, Michaelangelo, Warhol, etc, why can they preserve these? These artworks are truly a part of art history and cinema history.

  3. why should CGI replace practical? Jurassic Park is a perfect balanced movie of practical and computer effects, why can't others do that? full CGI movies are usually terrible.. I got kinda excited for that Pacific Rim film, but it just didn't do anything for me, no scene stuck in my mind like it would if it was practical monsters, those fights would be memorable those monsters would be memorable, I don't even remember the monsters in that film.. even the 50's B-movie monsters stick with me more than these new films do.. 

  4. ATTEN RICK BAKER! Rick, if you read this, from one long-time Universal Monster fan, to another, I found the 2010 "The Wolfman"  to be utterly amazing. Your make-up was simply dead-on. Not only partly in homage to the legendary Jack Pierce, but also horrifyingly modern. I don't care what people say or think. I, personally, have found your version of "The Wolfman" to be my favorite werewolf film of all-time. Thank you for that, and so many other memorable movie creature creations. You truly are a master in your field.

  5. the old question-"if you could sit down and have dinner with anybody famous" – my answer would be Rick Baker.

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