SOME OUTLANDER DESIGN THOUGHTS
Responding to one of the comments: “I do know that back in… 2000? The film was over with Kirschner Productions. I talked with a couple of the concept artists that worked on that particular proposal but it’s been so long that they didn’t have a lot to say. One remembered reading the script and had a few anecdotes about his own involvment, whereas the other remembered vaguely working on Moorwen concepts. I’ve been curious about that particular effort to mount the production since and whether or not any of this art survives? Were they not happy with Patrick Tatopolous’ creature design? Or were they just getting alternate takes on the concept?”
I can try to dig up some of the early art. In fact, I do have some posted on the MySpace page. There’s a beautiful sepia by patrick plus some very cool early Viking and village designs. Patrick had a very distinct view of the Vikings, that they should kind of be like the Hell’s Angels of the day, which you can see. We also stole (as in, we asked Patrick to do it, he didn’t steal it) a design element from a movie called With Fire and Sword, where a character has a knife actually sheathed in his skin. Didn’t make it into the movie, though.
Anyway, while the movie was with David (Kirschner) we felt like we needed to get some good art to help sell the project. We tried a few guys out but their creature designs just didn’t cut it. (No big surprise – it’s goddamn hard to design a creature.) So then we went for a big gun, Patrick. He designed Stargate, Godzilla, Dark City. Really good stuff. He came up with the Moorwen as he is now, which is terrific, and which everyone loved. A fun note on something I can’t claim a part of. In the script, the Moorwen wasn’t clearly seen for about 80 pages or so. We wanted to make it like the shark in Jaws. However, it’s really hard to do that without making it seem like a cheat. So Howard was talking with a friend of ours, Joe Bauer, who’s a visual effects supervisor (Get Smart) and trying to figure out how to show the monster’s presence without giving him away. So, taking a cue from these hyper-wierd deep-sea fish that are bioluminescent, they came up with the idea that the Moorwen produced different color lights depending on its ‘mood’. That way the audience could see wierd lights and know something was up, but not see enough of the monster to give him away too soon.
A final word on Patrick – he’s a tremendously nice guy, so nice that you can forgive him for being a world-class artist and great-looking French guy. And a daredevil motorcyclist. Oh yeah – and he just started his directing career with Underworld 3, which Howard and I rewrote for him just before the writer’s strike. A great guy to work with/for.