S2E1 Interview with Special Effects Artist Steve Boyle

Interview With Special Effects Artist Steve Boyle

It’s 2021 and that means we are kicking off Season 2 of the Geek Girls Universe Podcast. What better way to get the new year started than this interview with special effects artist Steve Boyle? This is the man responsible for creatures from some of our favorite films and probably some of your nightmares.

Interview With Special Effects Artist Steve Boyle
Photo: Steve Boyle Studios

Interview With Special Effects Artist Steve Boyle

Steve Boyle’s work can be seen in Love and Monsters, What We Do In The Shadows, Attack of the Clones, and Daybreakers amongst other things. We had a chance to speak with him about his latest film, Love and Monsters which is available from Paramount Pictures to own today on Blu-ray, 4K, and DVD.

Love and Monsters is one of our favorite films from 2020. You can hear the others one on our Year End Review Episode.

What creature was the most challenging to create for Love and Monsters? And which one was your favorite?

Steve: My favorite was the Buzzard, the bunker creature. I think that was my favorite because it’s an asymmetrical, miss-mash of flesh, slime, and thorns. It was really fun to do. When I was a kid that was the sort of stuff I always wanted to do. That’s the kind of creature that has pulled me into doing this kind of stuff.

The most challenging was Mavis. About 4 hours before we had to film her on location she was about 100 pieces on a table we were trying to assemble. It was one of those ones where you think “Maybe this is going to be the one that doesn’t work.”

Related: Love and Monsters Review

There is one monster we never get to see on screen despite it being a massive threat to the characters. Was it always the plan not to have it show up? 

Steve: Yes. This was an intimate approach which personally I liked because you wanted to see more of everything. I think it’s better to get little suggestions, have you wanting to see more than seeing too much of them.

How many of the monsters were practical effects versus CGI?

Steve: I’m trying to remember. The gobblers were puppets but they were also CGI. Mavis was practical, the buzzard was about 80% practical. We ended up doing more practical stuff than I thought. 

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When it comes to special effects, you have designed creatures that are well known in lore like the werewolves for What We Do In The Shadows and others like in Star Wars and Love and Monsters that no one has ever seen before. Do you prefer taking something that is traditional and making it your own or coming up with something completely new?

Steve: That’s a really good question because I don’t know the answer to that. They excite me both in different ways.

I don’t know. I think I kinda swing between the two. Both are hugely satisfying. I guess with building all new stuff you don’t have to break through people’s conceived ideas of what a werewolf should look like, what a vampire should look like. You can be a bit more free. It’s also not compared in the same way. But I love doing both. 

Related: Best Quotes From Love and Monsters

Along those lines, is there a character or a monster that you want to bring to life that you haven’t yet?

Steve: I haven’t done my own version of Frankenstein yet, I would love to do that. I’ve been really lucky, I’ve done most of what I always wanted to do. I’ve had amazing opportunities across all genres and to be able to work with the best artists in the world. People who were my idols as a kid are now some of my closest friends.

What inspired you to become a special effects artist? What drew you into this as your career?

Steve: I don’t know what drew me to it. I just remember being obsessed with it. I never wanted to do anything else. It was one of those things that kinda chose me and I got the bug very early on. I am creatively ambitious but not careerist if that makes sense. I’m much more interested in what I’m making.

Getting into this at such a young age, were there artists or puppeteers that you looked up to?

Steve: Oh yeah a lot. Richard Taylor who has his company WETA with Peter Jackson. I got to go over there and work with them for about 5 years. It wasn’t just about special effects, they were really original thinkers.

And where will we see Steve’s work showing up next? You’ll have to listen to find out!

For the full interview listen to the latest episode of the podcast.

Love and Monsters from Paramount Home Entertainment is now available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD.

Subscribe to the Geek Girls Universe Podcast Here!