Images from film work – Willy Whitten

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1. The top photo is a polyform sculpture of the Terminator animodel done with Doug Beswick for the first Terminator film.

2. Next to that is a single panel from the storyboards I drew for the ‘kennel sequence’ in THE THING.

3. Below that is a shot of one of the design illustrations for the Spiderhead that I did, as well as the finished clay head (one of three I finished for that sequence)

4. This is a “drone” Martian torso from Invaders From Mars (remake) done at Stan Winston’s studio. I had done the color design on a maquette, and am painting a life-size in the same scheme.

5. Clowning around in a pose with the full size clay sculpture for the ‘dinosaur suit’ of Baby for the Disney film ‘BABY’.

~Willy Whitten

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15 thoughts on “Images from film work – Willy Whitten

    • Michael Ploog, Mentor Huebner, and myself; Willy Whitten did storyboards, and design work for the film.
      [Randy Cook also did some drawings for the animated sequences of the finale]

      The final design-drawing you see pictured above alongside the sculpture of the Spiderhead is by myself, as well as the sculpture which was done by both Rob Bottin and me from a press-out of the actors face from a lifecast. There were three life size heads done this way for the sequence where the character has a heart attack and the head’s neck stretches off the body, lands on the floor, sprouts spider legs and scampers off.

      The pencil drawing just above that is from the storyboards I did of the Kennel Sequence.

      All of the effect images from the film came straight out of the imagination of Rob Bottin, who thought up the various techniques to realize the scenes, as well as described the creatures we would draw and create under his close direction.
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  1. This is my sculpture and casting of a copy I did for a collector. I lost my studio because of a divorce and ended up in a small apartment without the space to do the paint-job and spider leg castings. I sent it to the collector, and he had some other guy do the paint job add the wig, and add the spider leg castings:

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  2. The thing is one of my favorite films Willy I did not know you were involved in making it. Very cool. I also loved the Terminator and I think I went to see it in the theater at least 5 times. Love to talk shop with you sometime about that. Anyway Willy keep in touch.

    • Thanks Adam!
      Yea, THE THING was the first really big job in film for me. I had worked on THE HOWLING with Rob Bottin doing storyboards earlier.
      So he wanted me to do some storyboards for the Thing project, and before he actually had the facility at Hartland Universal to start up.
      So he came to my apartment in Van Nuys and would relax on the couch like a psychiatric patient and just start describing scenes in his head, while I sat at my drafting table doing sketches. It was a really fun experience.
      Around the 2nd or 3rd time he came over for a storyboard session, he actually looked around the room we were in, and noticed some models on my shelves. One was about a 14 inch tall Yoda. He looked and looked at it. Finally he turned around and said, “where’d you get this Yoda, I thought I’d seen all the kits and models of him that have come out?”
      I replied that it was my own work, and that all the sculptures on the shelf were mine.
      His eyes lit up like it was Christmas, “What!?!”he exclaimed, “why didn’t your tell me you can sculpt?”
      I laughed and just said, “well, you never asked!”
      The next thing of course was a proposal that at soon as Hartland became available and he had a start date, I would go to work on the film there, doing all the things I was capable of; design, storyboards, sculpture, painting, etc..
      So I spent more than a year on that project. It was a hit with the special effects industry (more so than commercially – that came later) – and I was getting job offers up the kazoo from that point on.

      My last film project was DREAM CATCHER. I met Morgan Freeman on that film. He is exactly like he seems in movies, just a down to earth friendly and nice guy.
      That was 2002 and CGI was squeezing in on hands on film effects, so I set out on doing work at theme parks and started designing giftware. Eventually escaped from Hollyweird and went to the San Diego area as a freelance sculpture designer.
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  3. I saw your comment on YT,I also expose no planers as deep cointel disinfo…I have many skulls,anomalous/alien type,very real and detailed.If posiible can you contact my channel “alien fossil project on yt thanks,i need help and to hire people to animate my skulls perhaps,greatest paleontological find in history …Great talent on great films,congrats!

  4. Fine Art Sculpture after film career:

    Full War Bonnet:

    Rapture (Ghost Dancer)

    Dream Medicine (Native American Shield)

    Center Fire (Western Saddle)

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  5. i have a copy of your beautiful sculpture named Dream Medicine #356 thank hope you made something for there copy By Mixed Media Leds

    • Thank you John!
      Yes my association with Legends was very profitable for a number of years. And it was great fun.
      ~Willy Whitten
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  6. Hello to you Willy..
    My name is Rob Freitas.
    I am a mold maker that spent 25 years in TV and film, and now spending time molding art for others.
    I am also friends with Gunnar Ferdinandson.. and if you’d like? I interviewed Gunnar for a Make Up Mag and it is on Vimeo.

    Now, to the point..
    Being a fan of your work I wanted to reach out to you.. I know some people are trying to reach out to you. There is a new Blue Ray being put together. There are a lot of interviews and commentaries being done and assembled.
    I spoke to a Lady named Heather that is organizing it all.

    Your work on that film is something that I still admire, and many others that I know do as well.

    If this interests you in anyway? To be a part of it? Simply email me “yes”..
    And I can send Heathers email and phone number to you.
    If not? No worries.. I know many that would reply no as well.
    All the best to you.
    Sincerely ,

    Rob

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