REIGN OF FIRE - Crouching Dragon-05
This beautiful maquette is one of my all time favorite pieces. It was one of 6 maquettes created by myself and a very talented team of sculptors over at Disney's now defunct 'Secret Lab' in Burbank which was formerly Lockheed's 'Skunkworks' where they developed the stealth bomber among other things.
Anyooo, this sculpture is the labor of myself (who designed the pose), Bill Basso, who did the heroic work of creating the armature for this thing and roughing it in before he had to leave. Along came big Jim McPherson to fill Bill's shoes and take this thing to a very nice, tight finish. Along the way I stepped in and did little bits here and there, but mostly I art directed. Jordu Schell painted the final final maquette for the film. The glory of this piece, for me, is that it looks great from every possible angle. This is a very rare thing to acehive, and, aside from the design of the creature itself, is the ultimate goal of any sculpture.
Many people tell me that they like this film quite a lot and that they loved the dragons. I have mixed feelings about both. Mostly I can just say that we were trying to do a modern take on the dragon 'Vermithrax' from the 1981 film DragonSlayer, which is one of the best dragon designs of all time. However, Vermithrax had the body of a snake with tiny little chicken legs, and our Dragons needed to be more robust. We incorporated a bit of dinosaur anatomy into our reinterpretation. Our Dragon was more a cross between a T-Rex and a giant Pterasaur of some kind, with a little classic dragon design in the head and neck.
I had hopes of making these dragons a little more exceptional, but there was a lot of 'design by committee' that happened on this politically difficult show, and my role became that of the guy who fought to keep the dragons from becoming so generic that they would have no character at all.
The difference between the smaller male 'Bull' Dragons was supposed to be more dramatic from the Queen Dragon 'Ashley', but in the end, they all just kind of looked the same.
Note to producers and execs: "Please just leave the artists alone. They will come up with something far better without your input, and in the end, it will make you all a lot more money".
Would you want to argue against that?