Last week, I brought you an exclusive still from ABCs of Death 2, specifically, from “Y Is For Youth,” by Japanese effects artist Soichi Umezawa. It was the one with the girl with the giant silicone penis on her face, remember? Yes, well I also sat down with Soichi (and a translator) in a weird karaoke room at Fantastic Fest, and, rather than doing a traditional interview about his turn ons, his turn offs, his perfect date, his desert island disks, etc., he provided some stills of his past FX work and I asked him how he made stuff. Cool, right? …I mean, my mom definitely thought so.
FILMDRUNK: So technically speaking, how do you go about creating something like that?
SOICHI UMEZAWA’S TRANSLATOR: You first make a model based on that the person that you’ve seen. And make a sculpture out of clay. And you make separate parts for forehead, the fingers, the eyes, everything in detail. And you pour silicone into all the [clay models] that you’ve made.
FD: And what was the idea for that one? Do you get an idea in your head first and then you start making it, or do you gradually build upon your initial inspiration as you go?
SOICHI’S TRANSLATOR: What he wants to do is something that nobody else has ever done. He likes Hollywood films but he wanted to do something that’s never even done in Hollywood films. He likes deformed forms of the body, but not just like making it look creepy and weird. He wanted to make something that is meaningful at the same time.
FD: Is it more fun to be able to do your own creations, or do you enjoy getting an assignment from someone else and coming up with your take on what they want?
SOICHI’S TRANSLATOR: He doesn’t mind doing assigned work, as long as he can make everything from scratch. But if he has to make something that’s already being made, he wouldn’t want to do it.
FD: Okay, so tell me about this design. What was it for, how did you do it, etc.
SOICHI’S TRANSLATOR: There’s a book that was being published years ago. You had a collection of artwork done by special effect makeup artist and he participated in that. This was for the second edition of that, and it’s basically explained how to do special effect makeup. It’s like how to make scars on your face.
FD: And was that more silicone work?
SOICHI’S TRANSLATOR: Yeah. And the idea was that this man, he loves a woman that is in love with Louis Vuitton. So he wanted to create himself as Louis Vuitton to impress her.