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.

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Ep. 17: Exclusive Interview with Julia Jones

Julia Jones Think Like A Dog

Hey there geeks! We had the opportunity to interview the talented and super fun Julia Jones. If you don’t know, Julia starred as Leah Clearwater in Twilight, Omera in “The Mandalorian”, and most recently as Agent Munoz in Think Like A Dog. You know we could not let the opportunity pass by to geek out about “The Mandalorian” and other nerdy things, because Julia is also a geek.

interview with Julia Jones

Exclusive Interview with Julia Jones

Sometimes 15 minutes doesn’t feel like a lot; sometimes it’s enough to enjoy a few good laughs and feel like you’ve chatted with someone and known them for a long time. This was one of those times.

I was a little worried about having to do this interview via phone instead of in person but it was great. Julia was funny, engaging, and it didn’t feel awkward at all!

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We started off by asking her about her role as Agent Munoz in Think Like A Dog. Funny moments on set and what it was like filming in New Orleans.

Jones: “I really responded to the script. It’s about a little boy whose science project goes awry and he forms a telepathic connection with his dog, and I had a dog growing up that I was really close to and I think felt in some way that I was connected to her, maybe telepathically, why not? And that was just very sort of sweet and personal to me.”

“I love working with the dogs. For me, there is an element of spontaneity that comes when working with dogs. I feel calm and relaxed working with them, especially big dogs like the Henry dog. These dogs are extremely professional and really well behaved. Everybody just wanted to be around the dogs. I definitely was hanging out with the dogs offset.” (laughs)

I think we all agree we would want to hang out with the dogs!

Jones: “One of the neighbors let us use their house for makeup because the trailers were too far away so we would go and do makeup touch-ups in her house. “Sure, just come on in.”

Read more: Exclusive Interview With Julia Jones

The people of New Orleans didn’t just offer up their houses for touch-ups, they also came out to watch the filming. Like a Community Theatre production.

Jones: “People would get beach chairs and at 9 am in the morning you would get out of the car to start filming and there would be all these people with their beach chairs and bottles of wine. They set up their chairs and watched us film. It was like a community theatre production.” (Laughs)

Julia Jones Think Like A Dog

Julia is a self-proclaimed nerd. Being a big Book Worm, we asked her about how reading informs her acting choices.

Jones: “I think that reading books impact the way that I see the world to begin with. You try to understand things that you haven’t experienced or you try to understand what it’s like to live in a place that you’ve never been, different things that are going on that are outside of your little world that you inhabit.

Twilight, I definitely read before we filmed…I mean, because you’d pick those books up and you can’t put them down, first of all, but, you also want to be as much on the page of your audience as you can.”

Read more: Interview With Julia Jones | Talking Dogs, Nerd Life, and The Mandalorian

If you started doing puzzles during quarantine you are in good company!

Jones: “Oh my gosh, I’ve been doing puzzles in quarantine. These like 1,000 piece puzzles that I’ve been extremely obsessed with!”

She has been involved in some incredible projects with really large fanbases, like “The Mandalorian,” “ER,” “Westworld,” and The Twilight Saga. We asked her what it was like to be a part of them.

Jones: “You always sort of feel like you have a family when you’re working on a film, but (with those franchises) it’s like you’re joining a family, a huge family. Cause it’s not just about getting together and telling the story that’s very beloved by millions of people. But you’re kind of in it together and you have to navigate the reception of it as well. And it is nice to do that with your colleagues as opposed to just off on your own.”

Read more: Exclusive Interview with Julia Jones

Julia Jones The Mandalorian

And then we gushed a bit about “The Mandalorian” and our hopes for Omera and the future. You’ll have to listen to find out what she said!

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think like a dog poster