From the clips of the highly anticipated live-action adaption of Ghost in the Shell we’ve seen so far, one of the major talking points has been the terrifying geisha bots. A new video sees the nightmarish masks and animatronics revealed.
Adam Savage of Tested went to the Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand to talk to founder Richard Taylor, who led a team of 120-150 people that designed, created and maintained the robots for the huge anime adaptation.
Ghost in the Shell, soon to drop in March, follows human cyborg hybrid Major (Scarlett Johansson) and her elite task force as they battle criminals and extremists. As the film progresses, Major begins a quest that questions her authorities, to discover her murky past and identity. In the trailers, it appears the robo-geisha servants start a terrifying brain-hacking rampage.
Taylor of Weta Workshops explains in the behind-the-scenes clip that the masks were taken from a mold of Japanese actress Rila Fukushima’s face and 3D printed, then customized for other actress’ to wear. He describes how masks were chosen because prosthetics and makeup wouldn’t have hidden flaws in actors’ skins.
We’re also shown inside the masks, which have hidden exhausts in the hair portion that aid breathing, and drawstrings to help get them off and on easily. In a more elaborate design, one of the animatronic’s entire face opens up to show moving gears and a deliberate “wear and tear” look – the “face petal” popping open and closed with the help of magnets. Another example shown is a robot body with a detailed ribcage, inspired by “clockmakers of the 17th century”.
Taylor also describes the influence the Martin Scorsese film Hugo had on the Weta creations, as well as the “Asian eye-maker” of Blade Runner. Taylor says they worked with the makeup department and practical effects engineers, and travelled to the Ghost in the Shell set to help maintain the work.
Watch the fascinating, detailed video below. Ghost in the Shell will drop in cinemas March 31 2017.