Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Ask Me a Question: Masters of the Universe
After the film, I called down our panelists of director Gary Goddard, production designer William Stout, Teela Chelsea Field, Karg Robert Towers, Blade Anthony De Longis and armor suit makers Robert Short and Max Cervantes:
- Goddard has a background in large scale theme park attractions as well as theater. Always wanted to be a filmmaker, made films in high school, never gave up and his mother always encouraged him.
- Chelsea Field was a dancer before auditioning seemingly twenty-five times for MOTU and it was her first acting role. Auditions had no scenes per se, acting out action, fighting with swords and laser guns. Had met Goddard to discuss Conan stage show previously and he remembered her.
- William Stout originally hired as storyboard artist but hit it off with Goddard, both loved Jack Kirby while hired production designer didn't see eye to eye with director or have faith in film.
- Anthony De Longis worked on Conan the Barbarian stage show, worked with William Stout on a Roger Corman flick after Masters. Played Blade and doubled Frank Langella for final battle where Skeletor is in a huge helmet the size of the New York skyline.
- Robert Towers knew Goddard from Conan as well. Went through lots of auditions as Goddard was adamant performance had to come through prosthetics. Had a great time with Billy Barty who always brought great energy and told dirty stories. Went through 3.5 hours of make up and could barely eat.
- Robert Short's shop produced 300 some suits of armor in 30 days.
- Grayskull was biggest set Hollywood had seen in 40 years, two stages with wall knocked down.
- Goddard described the difficulties of the film that included costumes, contact lenses that almost made wearers blind, make up, pyrotechnics, fights, stunts...everything but rain. Cannon Films also going out of business, was told three times that there was no money. Would tell cast and crew that they were already there, go ahead and shoot day and figure it out. Producer went to Mattel for money.
- Field hasn't seen film since opening, only 2nd time, lots of 30ish guys walk up and freak out about Masters. Best summer of her life, most fun she ever had on a shoot. Night shoots felt like they went on forever, was only 6 weeks, only getting about 4 hours a night on Whittier streets. Fond memories of working with James Tolkan, Jon Cypher, Cox, McNeil, etc.
- Frank Langella was in town and wanted to come but had to head back to New York early, drat!
- Great to work with, 2-3 hours of make up and anchors the film. Goddard spread story to more characters versus giving all to He-Man and somewhat telling story through villain's eyes.
- Big film for Cannon but still a skeleton crew, department assistant Josh Olson would go on to write Oscar nominated A History of Violence.
- Strapped Dolph to a truck for the Air Centurion sequence, had him 30-50 feet up a ladder.
- Towers kept some costume pieces and wig, Goddard has Skeletor's sword, Field kept memories, Stout has 200 paintings, Max has some armored suits and revamped for Alien Halloween costume, Short has a garage full of molds and suits, De Longis has a sword, donated one to charity.
- It was William Stout's birthday, we wished him a hearty "Good journey!" and I passed out cupcakes after.
- Field warned her son that it would be very cheesy but was surprised how well it held up. Everyone gave massive props to Goddard for making for such a great experience, keeping things rolling even though Cannon was falling apart behind the scenes.
It was a beautiful night paying tribute to one of my favorite films and a warm up for the next day which would include 12 hours of setting up, hosting and running a mini-convention, 4 screenings and 4 panels, phew! Until then, don't say goodbye, say "Good journey!".