Phil Tippett rather famously, to the Internet, had one job on Jurassic Park. In the real world, though, Tippett is a special effects mastermind who started with Lucasfilm, building masks for Star Wars, before moving on to do effects work on movies from RoboCop to Starship Troopers. Vice got him in front of a camera and let him talk, and Tippett opened his personal archives of behind-the-scenes footage, and the results are fascinating.
Tippett gets in-depth here, relating how he got his big break largely because Lucas was unhappy with the original cantina scene and got Tippett, among others, to build some masks to insert more aliens into the movie. The cantina band is all Tippett’s work. The holographic chess set Chewie loves so much came from Tippett, as well, but after three Star Wars movies, he made a short film about dinosaurs just to step away from paid effects work. That led to Jurassic Park and Tippett’s current job overseeing computer effects and explaining filmmaking to CGI artists. It even gets into his passion project Mad God.
Tippett’s never been less than frank, as anybody who’s seen his appearances in Star Wars puff pieces can tell you, and his honesty here, as he talks about working on the movie that essentially put an end to the art form he loves in Hollywood, makes for a compelling watch. Hopefully one day Tippett gets a chance to do stop motion in a major Hollywood movie again; perhaps Episode VIII could revisit the Rancor?