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Star Trek XI Creature Designer Neville Page Interview

Star Trek XI Creature Designer Neville Page Interview

Responsible for the Delta Vega creatures in Star Trek XI, Neville Page talks to Animation World Network about his experiences working with J.J. Abrams on the Star Trek Reboot.  Neville worked on Cloverfield and J.J. was so impressed by his talents, he was asked to work on J.J.'s next big project, our beloved franchise.  Check out an excerpt from the interview below.

Bill Desowitz: So did you know from the start that you would be designing these two creatures on the Delta Vega Ice Planet?

Neville Page: No, when I read the script and it was originally a desert scene. I think they thought it was too similar to Tatooine.

BD: Anything you did would evoke Star Wars.

NP: Of course. So instead of working for various designs for that scene and there was another one cut from the original script, it eventually came down to an ice planet, which changed everything. And J.J. conceived this notion of this creature that's under the ice. And you see a glimpse of it. Unfortunately, they didn't do that scene. I think that would've been a good tease. But the idea was to come up with a red herring creature. My idea was the Polarilla, which was really a throwaway kind of creature. The point of that was to do something quick to chase Kirk as a decoy: something like the Abominable Snowman but different. And it was a very quick sketch that looked pedestrian: it was more like a bat head and a polar bear. But as it evolved, I took it down the road of being more like a gorilla and polar bear. It just ended up like it was the cart leading the horse with that one. I just ran with it. But it got pretty detailed in the end. You never see it in the film, which is pretty unfortunate. With it moving so quickly and the snow and the mist, it's more of a visceral moment.

BD:  What about Big Red?

NP: So developing the real threat was kind of interesting. J.J. had a [few] things that he was very specific about: he wanted it to be red in contrast to the snow, which I think was purely an aesthetic thing, he wanted hands that could reach out and grab Kirk. And he also wanted to have hundreds of eyes all over its head and body.

BD: And where did you go from there?

NP: The red part was the only thing I agreed with. The hundreds of eyes I struggled with from a biological standpoint and the hands I struggled with from the notion of there not being much of a struggle -- Kirk is just going to get pulled in. So I designed alternatively a tongue that could allow Kirk to put up resistance and in the end J.J. used that. And he never did use the eyes that much.  (source Animation World Network)

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