Ooookay, yeah, this is creepy as hell. Here’s the skinny on the early test footage from Mama. Also, since we’re still
digging up searching for a more recent interview to include in postings on actor/featured creature performer Javier Botet, here’s a little more background to hold you till we get it all organized.
According to Slashfilm.com‘s Germain Lussier, (in this piece about an on-set visit, back in October of 2012), Mama was being created by blending on-set practical performance by Javier Botet, and the digital effects of two companies: DDT and Mr. X. To prove they could pull it off, the filmmakers and DDT shot a test in June 2011 to show the executives what they had in mind.
Here’s that test, which has popped up (or lunged out) online in a couple of places. We discovered it thanks to a piece by Jessica Wakeman of BlackBookMag.com (where she also was cool enough to mention Horror Boom and point readers our way to see a photo of Mama, the finished product, in full makeup; she meant this “Rumor Control” post here). It’s just shot in black and white, with no sound, and still scares the fuck out of everybody; on the page with the You Tube video (which eerily has no description) the top-rated post says ….I immediately regret this decision.*
So, how was this waking nightmare created? From the same article on the set visit, ©Slashfilm.com’s Germain Lussier explains:
On set, [director] Muschietti literally operates Botet like a marionette to really get him moving in weird ways. “Javier has a bunch of cables coming out of his body, so he’s pulled into directions that are not normal and he has to counter the wire pull. Then we remove the wires and what it looks like is like literally a marionette coming to life,” [Guillermo] Del Toro said. “It looks almost digital, but it’s all caught on camera. He moves really disjointed, because they are trying to trip him essentially. It’s really, really cool.”
Probably not very comfortable for him at the time, but it sure as hell worked. We also have been sort of concerned with Mr. Botet’s health, and have wondered for years if he just has a fast metabolism and then diets down, or what’s going on with his very slender, 6 foot-7 inch frame. He gives very few interviews, and we’re trying to get up the nerve to drop him an email (also, seriously doubt he’d be able take the time for an interview with Horror Boom when it could get much more exposure elsewhere, which we totally understand), but it’s not the sort of question you can just blurt out (even if our French wasn’t terrible). Apparently, Botet has Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder which causes an elongation of the body and the fingers (personally, we were positive he wears finger extensions for his creature acting, and will have to get back to you after we re-watch the [REC] behind-the-scenes make-up/effects DVD feature). He confirmed in an interview while doing some press for [REC 2] that while he can get tired easily –especially if the prosthetics are heavy and he’s had to sit for a six-plus hour session in the make-up chair– he’s content, healthy, and loves his job. Plus, the actor is always a gentleman to the press and to his fans.
Image owned by/copyright Javier Botet, 2010-present.
See? Don’t be scared at night that “Mama” is hiding under your bed or in lurking in your closet! It’s all a performance by this friendly actor! Heh-heh… heh… just a movie, just a movie, just a movie…
So, if we chicken out on contacting him (like I said, we have to work up to it), we’ll give out all the links we can, and definitely “re-blog” all the interviews we can locate.
Curious about Marfan syndrome? Here’s a good link with a ton of information. It does not sound comfortable.
Meanwhile, did you scroll down here because you were a little unsure if you wanted to watch that test footage? Here’s a (small) gallery, slide-slow style, of some screen-grabs from it, if you want to dip your toe in first…
More on Mr. Botet will show up, so watch this space! And yes, Mama the movie was scary as hell. Uneven at times, yes. Also, there were two very memorable and distinct moments/jumps that were in nearly every trailer, that I wanted to know the story behind, totally missing from the movie which sort of personally threw me off when I realized the credits were rolling Maybe a dangling plot thread or two, but you know what, I was way too busy screaming to notice at the time. Also, it knocked Texas Chainsaw 3D right out of the top box office sales, so I’m going to give any flaws a pass for now. A longer review of Mama is still to come– along with all the coverage on the Mama creature/makeup/FX we can get our
claws hands on!
*You Tube user comment by user “SuperZombieMoon”.