Rob Bottin

Special makeup effects designer, Special effects designer, Director
Legend has it that, upon first stepping onto a Hollywood soundstage, the twentysomething neophyte filmmaker Orson Welles announced "This is the biggest toy train set a boy ever had!" Sadly, Welles was soon forced to ... Read more »
Born: 11/30/1958

Filmography

Wardrobe, Hair & Makeup (21)

Deep Rising 1998 (Movie)

special makeup effects(Ron Bottin Studio) (Makeup)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998 (Movie)

Demon effects makeup (Makeup)

Mission: Impossible 1996 (Movie)

special makeup effects (Makeup)

Seven 1995 (Movie)

(Special Makeup Effects)

Basic Instinct 1992 (Movie)

special makeup effects designer and creator (Special Makeup Effects)

Bugsy 1991 (Movie)

(Special Makeup Effects)

Robocop 2 1990 (Movie)

Robocop costumes (Costumes)

Total Recall 1990 (Movie)

(Special Makeup Effects)

The Great Outdoors 1988 (Movie)

(Special Makeup Effects)

Innerspace 1987 (Movie)

(Special Makeup Effects)

Robocop 1987 (Movie)

(Special Makeup Effects)

The Witches of Eastwick 1987 (Movie)

special makeup effects designer (Special Makeup Effects)

Explorers 1985 (Movie)

(Special Makeup Effects)

Legend 1985 (Movie)

special makeup (Makeup)

Twilight Zone - the Movie 1983 (Movie)

special makeup effects design("It's a Good Life") (Special Makeup Effects)

The Thing 1982 (Movie)

(Special Makeup Effects)

The Howling 1981 (Movie)

special makeup (Makeup)

The Fog 1980 (Movie)

Special Makeup (Special Makeup Effects)

Tanya's Island 1979 (Movie)

(Makeup)

Mistress of the Apes 1978 (Movie)

(Makeup Assistant)

Piranha 1978 (Movie)

(Makeup)
Visual Effects & Animation (7)

Deep Rising 1998 (Movie)

creature creator and designer (Visual Effects)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998 (Movie)

Lounge Lizards designer (Visual Effects)

Mimic 1997 (Movie)

creature design (Special Effects)

Basic Instinct 1992 (Movie)

special visual effects (Special Effects)

Total Recall 1990 (Movie)

character visual effects (Visual Effects)

The Fog 1980 (Movie)

Blake Effects (Special Effects)

Humanoids From the Deep 1979 (Movie)

Humanoids creator (Visual Effects)
Physical Effects (1)

Rock 'n' Roll High School 1979 (Movie)

giant mouse creator (Puppets Design)
Actor (1)

The Fog 1980 (Movie)

Blake (Actor)
Producer (1)

The Howling 1981 (Movie)

(Associate Producer)
Other (8)

The Devil's Advocate 1997 (Movie)

visual effects consultant (Consultant)

Robocop: The Series 1993 - 1995 (TV Show)

Other

Robocop 3 1993 (Movie)

Robocop designer & creator (Other)

Robocop 2 1990 (Movie)

Robocop creator (Other)

Robocop 1987 (Movie)

Robocop design and creation (Other)

Humanoids From the Deep 1979 (Movie)

designer (Other)

Tanya's Island 1979 (Movie)

beast design (Other)

Robocop: Prime Directives (TV Show)

Other

Biography

Legend has it that, upon first stepping onto a Hollywood soundstage, the twentysomething neophyte filmmaker Orson Welles announced "This is the biggest toy train set a boy ever had!" Sadly, Welles was soon forced to find another playground. More than half a century later, however, a contemporary "boy wonder" like special makeup effects creator/designer Rob Bottin could make an excellent living in Hollywood by playing with toys full-time. Indeed, Bottin really was a boy, aged 14, when he first became an active participant in movie magic. His mentor, future Oscar-winner Rick Baker, may have been the best teacher a student of special makeup FX could ever hope to have. The resourceful high school freshman even got his school officials to agree--unofficially--to allow him to attend classes in the morning and work with Baker in the afternoons.

As Baker's special makeup apprentice, Bottin's first film assignment was Dino de Laurentiis' lavish (but lambasted) 1976 remake of "King Kong". Their next job was working on the colorful inebriated aliens in the celebrated cantina sequence in George Lucas' "Star Wars" (1977). The neophyte FX technician soon started Rob Bottin Productions, his own FX company, at age 18. By the time Bottin and his mentor had worked together on Brian De Palma's "The Fury" (1978), Baker decided that that his protege had progressed beyond his apprenticeship.

A job with Roger Corman's New World Pictures followed fast on the heels of Bottin's high school graduation. He received his first feature credit as special makeup effects designer and special effects designer on Joe Dante's "Piranha" (1978), a giddy spoof of "Jaws" scripted by John Sayles. Bottin and other FX and makeup artists spent a lot of time on the bottom of a swimming pool with director Dante but the experience must not have been wholly unpleasant; "Piranha" marked the beginning of his long fruitful collaboration with the quirky filmmaker. (Bottin also appeared in the film in his own makeup as a piranha victim.) He also made his TV debut as a special FX designer that year with a syndicated special entitled "Manbeast! Myth or Monster". Back on the big screen, Bottin was credited as "giant mouse creator" on New World's "Rock 'n' Roll High School" (1979), a robust spoof of 50s teen movies helmed by Allan Arkush.

Bottin first began making a name for himself on two Avco Embassy Pictures projects helmed by rising young genre filmmakers of the day: John Carpenter's "The Fog" (1980) and Joe Dante's "The Howling" (1981). He provided gruesome FX and special makeup effects for Carpenter's moody ghost story about dead sailors come home from the sea looking for vengeance. Bottin himself wore the makeup as the captain of the rotting crew. He created a special makeup FX milestone of sorts with his trendsetting werewolf transformation for "The Howling". Whereas monster movies of old would feature a face sprouting hair and prosthetics through a series of lap dissolves, this film featured a harrowingly "realistic" depiction of a man's body parts painfully elongating and changing species. Bottin's erstwhile mentor, Rick Baker, had been hired to work on werewolf effects for "The Howling" on a provisional basis during an extended stall in the production of John Landis' big-budget "An American Werewolf in London". Bottin continued working after Baker was called back to the Landis film. The low-budget effort--another collaboration between Dante, screenwriter Sayles and Bottin--beat the highly touted "American Werewolf..." to the theaters and stole some of the thunder of Baker's work in that film.

Bottin reteamed with writer-director Carpenter for his 1982 remake of "The Thing". His outlandish, over-the-top special makeup FX may be viewed as Bottin's signature work. Indeed the grisly but inspired FX threatened to overwhelm the tense narrative. He segued to a more whimsical if still macabre mode for the Dante-directed "It's A Good Life" remake segment of "Twilight Zone - The Movie" (1983). With Craig Reardon and Michael McCracken, Bottin provided some memorably cartoonish creatures that seemed inspired by the drawings of Basil Wolverton. Waxing mythological, he shared an Oscar nod for his work on Ridley Scott's breathtaking if risible fantasy "Legend" (1985). Bottin's work was better showcased in the continuing collaboration with Dante. Rob Bottin Productions received its first feature credit (for "alien creature creation") on Dante's underrated "Explorers" (1985). He also crafted "The Greibble", a cartoonish monster, for a Dante-directed segment of Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" (NBC, 1986). Spielberg also executive produced "Innerspace" with Dante at the helm and Bottin providing the FX.

Bottin also proved a valued collaborator to Dutch emigre gone Hollywood, Paul Verhoeven. He was credited with "Robocop design and creation" as well as special makeup FX on "Robocop" (1987) and retained the former credit on the sequels and the syndicated spin-off series. His work on Verhoeven's elaborate sci-fi adventure "Total Recall" (1990) won Bottin an Oscar. The creative pair worked together again on "Basic Instinct" (1992). Bottin's other assignments include George Miller's "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987), Barry Levinson's "Bugsy" (1991) and "Toys" (1992). More recently, Bottin's work was displayed at its darkest for David Fincher's stylish crime drama "Seven" (1995). He also contributed to Tom Cruise's repertoire of faces for Brian De Palma's "Mission: Impossible" (1996).

EDUCATION

graduated high school c. 1977; beginning in his freshman year, was unofficially allowed to attend class in the mornings and work special makeup effects master Rick Baker in the afternoons

Milestones

1999

Reteamed with Fincher to create the gruesome special makeup effects for "Fight Club"

1997

Signed to direct first motion picture, "Freddy vs. Jason"; film never made

1995

Provided memorably grim special makeup FX for the well-received crime picture "Seven", directed by David Fincher

1994

Credited as "Robocop designer" on the syndicated "Robocop: The Series"

1992

Reteamed with Verhoeven to design and create special makeup FX as well as special visual FX for "Basic Instinct"

1990

Provided Oscar-winning visual effects for Verhoeven's "Total Recall"

1987

Credited with "Robocop design and creation" as well as special makeup effects for "Robocop"; first collaboration with director Paul Verhoeven

1987

Reteamed with Dante for "Innerspace"

1986

Designed "The Greibble", a cartoonish monster, for a Dante-directed episode of the NBC fantasy anthology "Amazing Stories"

1985

First feature credit for Rob Bottin Productions (for "alien creature creation"), Dante's "Explorers"; Bottin provided special makeup effects

1985

With Peter Robb-King, provided the Oscar-nominated special makeup effects designs for Ridley Scott's underperforming fantasy feature, "Legend"

1983

With Craig Reardon and Michael McCracken, served as special makeup effects designer for "It's a Good Life", a Dante-directed segment of "Twilight Zone--The Movie"

1982

Hospitalized for nearly two weeks during the making of "The Thing" for what has been variously described as ulcers, pnuemonia, allergies and/or nervous exhaustion

1982

Provided landmark monster designs for Carpenter's remake of "The Thing"

1981

Worked with mentor Rick Baker as special effects designer and special makeup effects designer on "Tanya's Island"

1981

Producing debut, served as associate producer on Dante's "The Howling"; provided breakthrough werewolf transformation effects among other special makeup FX

1980

Credited as "humanoids designer" for "Humanoids from the Deep", another New World cheapie

1980

First collaboration with writer-director John Carpenter, "The Fog"; appeared in makeup as Captain Blake, the head ghost; also provided special effects and special makeup effects

1979

Credited as "giant mouse creator" on New World's "Rock 'n' Roll High School", directed by Allan Arkush

1978

Feature debut as special makeup effects designer and special effects designer, "Piranha", a Corman-produced "Jaws" rip-off for New World Pictures; first collaboration with director Joe Dante; appeared in makeup as a victim

1978

Last film assignment as Baker's apprentice, Brian De Palma's "The Fury"

1978

TV debut, served as special effects designer for a syndicated special entitled "Manbeast! Myth or Monster"

1978

Hired by Roger Corman's New World Pictures shortly after graduating high school

1977

Started his own FX company, Rob Bottin Productions, at age 18

1977

Served as a special makeup apprentice on "Star Wars"; worked under Baker on the "cantina sequence"

1976

Worked with Baker as a special makeup effects apprentice on the the lavish remake of "King Kong"; deemed too young to be on the lot by MGM, ended up working in Baker's garage

1974

Became a protege of FX makeup pioneer Rick Baker at age 14 (date approximate)

Bonus Trivia

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Bottin's name is pronounced "Bo-teen".

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Some sources give his birth year as 1958.

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Bottin shared a 1986 Oscar nomination with Peter Robb-King for Best Achievement in Makeup for Ridley Scott's "Legend".

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"Rob Bottin's career as a special effects makeup artist began by cutting high school. As a 14-year-old freshman, Bottin had become a protege to makeup artist Rick Baker, who had been impressed with some of Rob's drawings and was willing to share his knowledge. Exasperated school officials UNOFFICIALLY allowed Bottin to attend class in the mornings, and work with Baker in the afternoons. 'Rick was kind of a big brother and father to me,' Bottin said. 'He told me to lose weight, get a haircut, and be respectable. He raised me.'" --From "A Rob Bottin Retrospect", Cinefantastique, Vol. 13, No. 2/Vol. 13, no. 3 (November-December, 1982).

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"Although the quantity and range of the makeup effects created for "The Thing" are unprecedented, the technology employed was relatively simple: the various manifestations of the Thing were sculpted in clay. Molds were taken from the sculptures, foam latex pieces were made and the necessary mechanics were installed. Additional materials were used when needed, and the list of ingredients was nearly as bizarre as the Thing itself: heated Bubble Yum gum, strawberry jelly, mayonnaise, cream corn, melted crayons, and the food thickener that was used to make the Blob a quarter-century earlier.'There's no mystery to most of this stuff. . . . Most of the techniques are obvious if you think about it. We used cables, servos, pneumatics, hydraulics, hand puppets, wires, radio controls, marionettes, even a little reverse filming. All sorts of things. Probably every effect known to man is in this movie.'" --From Cinefantastique (November-December, 1982)

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