Alongside the actual Victorian-looking vessel used in DreamWorks' upcoming remake of the H.G. Welles classic TIME MACHINE (currently on display at the Comic-Con International: San Diego), creature creator Stan Winston discussed his involvement with the development of the film's monstrous villains, the Morlocks.
"The Morlocks were really quite an interesting challenge in terms of design for my studio," says Winston. "The studio worked very closely with Simon Wells, who is the director of the film and by the way the grandson of H.G. Wells. Simon is an artist; he is a very hands on artist. He actually directed PRINCE OF EGYPT he was an animated film director and he has very specific ideas of design. So he worked closely with our artists to come up with the look of the Morlocks. He sketched a lot, then we took sketches from him, expounded on those sketches and the Morlocks are basically from the sketches and the maquettes created. A lot of their look is based on the mindset of Simon Wells. At the time my studio was doing the Morlocks, I would be in touch with it, but most of my time was spent on A.I. and JURASSIC PARK III. They were all happening at the same time."
Elaborating a bit on the monstrous denizens of an Earth trapped at the end of time, Winston's team created not one, but rather two different breeds of Morlock in order to strive for a more realistic sense of evolution.
"There are the hunters and the spies," says Winston. "The hunters are much more extensive, muscular and the ones you don't want to get in hand-to-hand combat with. They are composed of articulated heads, men in suits and CG renditions for things that cannot be done by actors. But the heads of the hunter Morlocks have actually 32 servos. The servos are carried in a backpack on the Morlocks back it's built into the design of the character. And there are three puppeteers along with the physical actor that animate the faces and work the characters. The hunters also have arm extensions, as do the spies. The spies are much more spidery, long and spindly. The hunters are thugish and more musculature. The eyes are radio-controlled eyes, lids, and brows. Mouth and lips are all radio controlled, as well. The actors that are inside look through a camera there is a little screen inside and the camera comes out and sees through the nose of the Morlock."
Aside from their breed specific differences, the updated version of the Morlocks differ from their predecessors in terms of diet as well. If you remember, the H.G. Wells versions of the creatures were cannibals that fed off the planet's aboveground human inhabitants. However, Winston paints a picture of a kinder, more vegetarian-kind of Morlock.
"I have not seen the film cut together and I wasn't on the set that much," says Winston. "But just knowing the concept of the film having to be no more than a PG-13, I would pretty much guarantee that there's not going to be cannibalism in it. It's also not in the script."