You likely know Adam Savage as the host of Mythbusters, from his active role in the maker community, and from his current online show and podcast Tested. But, before he was putting myths to the test on TV, he worked on special effects for movies. While he held many positions within that industry, he was most notably a model maker for movies like Galaxy Quest and Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Savage still makes replica movie props, and that includes this creepy Star Child that he made with help from his talented friends.
The Star Child appears in Stanley Kubrick’s famously-surreal 2001: A Space Odyssey. At the end of the film the main character, Dr. David Bowman, is transported to a room and transformed into the Star Child. Or, something like that — nobody actually understands that movie. Savage wanted to recreate the off-putting Star Child prop, and so he took lots of photos of the prop used in the actual movie, which is often on display at exhibits. He then passed the photos off to Steve Neill to use as the reference for a replica sculpture.
Neill started with a clay sculpture, which was then cast in fiberglass. Next, Kayte Sabicer of Tested took over to sand, smooth, and prime the fiberglass cast. With a bit of paint, the Star Child’s body was complete. Finally, Savage turned to Jeremy Williams to build a set of animatronic eyes that occasionally look around disconcertingly. The finished Star Child is a testament to the skill of old-school practical effects artists, but we certainly wouldn’t want it in our homes at night.