‘Cloverfield’ Monster Designer Talks J.J. Abrams’ ‘Super 8′

Published 5 years ago by , Updated September 18th, 2012 at 7:47 am,

Little is known about Super 8, the upcoming monster movie produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by J.J. Abrams. The teaser trailer was released way back in May alongside Iron Man 2.

Now, word comes that (surprise, surprise) Neville Page — the designer responsible for the monsters in J.J. Abrams’ previous viral-marketed movie, Cloverfield — has been tapped to design the “the range, the gamut” of Super 8, whatever that means.

In the past few years, Page has helped create some of Hollywood’s most successful genre films, including AvatarWatchmen, the recently-released Pirahna 3D, and Tron: Legacy, due in theaters December 17, 2010.

In reference to Super 8, page told Wired:

“My background, quite frankly, is more Tron than it is creature. The process of invention of a helmet or a creature — it’s the same stuff, it’s just different subject matter, really.”

Watch Page talk all things Tron, Cloverfield, and even his failed attempt to get James Cameron to film a cameo for Pirahna 3D:

Honestly, I didn’t love Cloverfield, but if there was one thing that bothered me above all else, it was the reveal of the least threatening monster in movie history (i.e. the gigantic Rancor knock-off known as ‘Clover’ (below)).

Indeed, Cloverfield was at its best when showing only vague glimpses of the horrifying monster as it attempted to consume our protagonists (Jaws-style). The film was at its worst when showing the entire, badly-rendered, creature in broad daylight (The Mummy Returns-style) – as it did near the film’s end.

jaws screenrant Cloverfield Monster Designer Talks J.J. Abrams Super 8

clover screenrant Cloverfield Monster Designer Talks J.J. Abrams Super 8

scorpionking screenrant Cloverfield Monster Designer Talks J.J. Abrams Super 8

Fortunately, J.J. Abrams is helming Super 8 himself rather than simply producing (as he did with Cloverfield). If nothing else, the effects are bound to have a stronger financial backing.

Super 8 is expected to follow a group of children who inadvertently catch footage of an alien life-form on amateur 8mm film. From the trailer:

“In 1979, the U.S. Air Force closed a section of Area 51. All the materials were to be a transported to a secure facility in Ohio.”

While many people are still hopeful the alien life-form will be in some way connected to Cloverfield, Abrams has repeatedly denied such a connection.

Super 8 is set to be released sometime next year.

Source: Wired

TAGS: Super 8
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  1. I’m still not convinced “Super 8″ is not a prequel to “Cloverfield”.

    • It’s highly doubtful J.J. Abrams would take a step back from Star Trek to direct a Cloverfield prequel, don’t you think?

        • But he didn’t direct Cloverfield, Matt Reeves did. It also doesn’t make sense for Spielberg to come onboard a prequel to one of J.J. Abrams’ side projects.

          Frankly, it’s still too soon to know what similarities Cloverfield and Super 8 share beyond their “top-secret” nature and viral marketing. Teaser trailer aside, they haven’t even filmed the thing yet.

          • It is odd that Spielberg is on this if it is a “Clovefield” prequel… but why did he get on “Transformer”?

            And don’t forget that Super 8 is an old type of film used in the 60s… Another similarities to “Cloverfield”.

            • He produced “Transformers” for the same reason he produced “Men in Black” and “Back to the Future”–he wanted to A) make more money and B) make more movies without getting intricately involved.

              Perhaps the ‘captured on film’ aspect of the movie is similar to Cloverfield, perhaps it’s not. Again, there’s no way to know until some actual footage hits the internet. I just don’t think enough people care to see a Cloverfield sequel for them to actually…well, make one.

              • I don’t see how you could make a prequel to Cloverfield. It seems like it should just be it’s own movie to me.

                • I don’t want a prequel, because the manga already served as a great prequel to the film.

        • Actually it’s because in their wildest dreams they never thought they would get a chance to out do Ishirô Honda… ;)

  2. Super 8 is scary ET. Guaranteed.

  3. would have been much more interesting if there were audio…just “watching” was kinda lame.

    • I can’t tell if you’re joking?

  4. Ironically when Speilberg directed Close Encounters and then later ET, he publicly said that he would never make a film about a hostile alien or alien invasion.

    How things change,,,

    And I totally disagree that Clover looked bad in full view.

  5. Yeah, there’s no way it had four leaves…

  6. To say you didn’t like the design of Clover is your opinion and really not the concept artist’s fault. And to say it is a Rancor knock-off is also purely opinion-based. The job of the concept artist or creature designer, as Neville stated, is to show as many drawings as possible to the art director which from there get shown to the writer or director. The initial design could take radical turns for the better or worse and ultimately the concept artist is not to blame when I feel this article isn’t heavily supporting Neville Page at all.

    I believe he is still teaching at Art Center in California, which shows much about his character and how important he believes further education in the art field really is. I personally am enrolled in an art school studying to be a concept artist and there’s nothing I’d want more than to have someone from the industry giving their time to aid in my learning.

    This article to me did not seem respectful enough to Neville Page as a person first and a concept artist second – if you don’t like him, don’t state that, just post the video and say “Enjoy”.

    • If you want to disagree with my opinion, be my guest, but don’t tell me to post the video and shut up otherwise. That’s not cool, man. Obviously, Neville Page is an incredibly successful designer who has done some fantastic work on a variety movies, including Avatar, Watchmen, and Tron, as I say in the above article. My only worry is that his skills, per Cloverfield, don’t lend themselves to scaring people. That said, you’re right in saying that the ineffectuality of Clover could very well be blamed on the director, the visual effects supervisor, whomever, and not Page himself.

      • PKing never told you to “shut up”. He said “enjoy.”

        • “if you don’t like him, don’t state that, just post the video and say ‘enjoy.’”

          That’s telling me to shut up, Tacoscat. He said shut up and enjoy. I’m not directly quoting. I’m paraphrasing.

  7. Yeah, I can clearly see that what the artist did was overlap a couple of spiders gettin it on for the upper and lower jaws and had them get attacked by an octopus while they were in the middle of doin it. Just take a good long look at it and tell me I’m wrong! When the director saw it he cried, is this the best you got? Then on reflection said OK but push the cheeks out some to look like Audrey II. Audrey II? From “Little Shop of Horrors”! Yeah, that Audrey. The artist turns in the final draft and the ineffectual art director exclaims; Well now it looks like a Rancor!!! The assistant film director say OH great a homage. The continuity assistant gets a look and thinks, more like fromage if you ask me. And that’s pretty much how we got this fearsome monster…

  8. What’s an alien supposed to look like?

    Something out of a movie? :-)

  9. It’s understandable to make references to other things when they see something new come out. It’s what keeps us comfortable being able to say “oh yeah, that looks like _____, therefore I am comfortable with it and can accept it as opposed to being open minded and liking new things”

    Concept artists initial ideas and drawings are so out there most of them are scrapped and yes, sometimes unfortunately, they are told to make them like other things that already exist, be it an animal or something else from another movie or show. No matter how new or different things are people will unfortunately always compare them to something else.

    • Not true at all. One of the reasons ‘Alien’ was so successful was its incredibly original creature design. Same goes for ‘The Thing’ and ‘Predator,’ amongst many others. It’s always the most original movies that we remember in the long run.

      • I’m talking about as of recently. This is why artists such as Neville Page stand out. Because he has new and different designs, people are still unfortunately comparing them to other things though, like in this thread.

  10. Wow what’s all this Cloverfield hate.
    I loved the film!!!

    Its the only thing I really like from Abrams.

  11. LOL JJ and Steven together for an alien movie, I had a feeling this was gonna happen someday.

  12. @pumpkin_king,,,

    Neville Page also stands out because he’s not going up against Stan Winston. 8-)