SPOILER ALERT-if you plan on seeing Mama (2013) on DVD but have not done so yet, it’s probably best to save watching this BTS footage till after the movie. More than one commenter on the Wired post said it sort of, well, spoiled the illusion.
Many of us who have been terrified by the movie for months, on the other hand, are more than happy to see that it was an illusion…
Well, we WISH we could take credit for any part of this, or just post it directly, but it’s a Wired.com Exclusive clip from the Javier Botet featurette on the Mama DVD/Blu-Ray. Click the big red link below for the never-before-seen footage!
SEE! Proof the CGI was mainly limited to the hair/clothes floating effect!
SEE! The only actor who could portray Mama in the feature film and give you the worst nightmares!
SEE! Javier Botet out of make-up, being interviewed, to possibly help you sleep a little better by reminding you it’s just a movie.*
Not to mention some very creepy concept art (it must be a co-incidence that one of the drawings looks like a relative of the Attic Monster/Medieros Girl fromREC and REC2), Botet wandering around the set semi-casually in full makeup and costume (other than the CGI sensors/trackers wrapped around his bald head, making him look like the world’s scariest Christmas decoration), and we start to see him being swooped around on wires before the clip fades out. We do get to see over two minutes of amazing, never-before-seen footage, though. He does that horrifying, speedy crawl backwards, then they (apparently) reversed it to make it look extra creepy and unnatural.
You can watch the entire Javier Botet ‘bringing Mama to life’ (or death, as it were) featurette when the Mama DVD/Blu-Ray releases on May 7th… just in time for Mother’s Day.
*This will help, until the next time it’s the middle of the night, you can’t sleep, and you hear a strange noise.
The scariest goddamned movie we’ve seen so far this year, Mama, is coming out this upcoming May 7th, and we’ll be watching it in the daytime instead of a dark theater with the sound cranked to the max – don’t want the neighbors hearing so much terrified screaming they call 911! Oooo, and look at all these goodies…
MATRIARCHAL SECRETS BD EXCLUSIVE: An in-depth exploration of the digital and practical effects employed to shape the film’s phantom presence.
DELETED SCENES with Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Andy Muschietti and Producer/Co-Writer Barbara Muschietti (more from us later on shots from the trailer not in the theatrical release).
ORIGINAL SHORT WITH INTRODUCTION BY GUILLERMO DEL TORO with Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Andy Muschietti and Producer/Co-Writer Barbara Muschietti
THE BIRTH OF MAMA: MAMA began as a chilling short that announced a new voice in the horror genre. Exclusive interviews with Executive ProducerGuillermo del Toro and the filmmakers track the bloodline of the feature and explore changes needed to make the transition to a film.
Will they include the original ending to the short (extended, alternate, and even scarier), or they one cut by about 20 seconds that was released as a promo (introduced by Del Toro) closer to the movies release? We hope they have both, because they cut out a BIG twist. Don’t worry, we’ll re-post the original, longer version either way. Any takers?
You know, maybe coming in here with a broken flashlight wasn’t such a great idea… OOOOOOHHHH SHHHIIIIIIII– (kill)
FEATURE COMMENTARY with Director/Co-Writer Andy Muschietti and Producer/Co-Writer Barbara Muschietti
We can’t WAIT, and just hope they include Javier Botet in all the making-of footage (and a better copy of the now-viral, nightmarish, ‘Mama Motion/Movement Test” featuring Javier Botet – click here if you haven’t seen it yet) and the bonus “in-depth exploration of the digital and practical effects employed to shape the film’s phantom presence” the press release mentions. Surprise surprise, Netflix isn’t even bothering posting a release date, just “Unknown”. Oh, how helpful. This one, though, might actually be worth the extra features to cough up the $ to purchase the Blu-ray.
“Even for CG-heavy shots—like a crablike Mama walking up a wall and bending over backwards to reverse course and make a beeline at star Jessica Chastain—Weintraub and his team relied on Botet’s performance, shooting his upper and lower bodies separately and stitching together a composite image to make Mama’s ghostly spine bend at a right angle.”
Oh yes, I remember that shot! That’s right, it was in the last act of the movie! I wasn’t really aware of whether or not it looked CG or practical, as I was too busy screaming at the time. I admit a couple of shots in the last ten minutes or so looked a little too CG-ish, though it wasn’t the hair floating as if Mama was underwater (loved the back story explaining why) but a couple too-clear shots of her eyes. No matter, the other scenes and scares were so visceral and terrifying I’ll let a couple shots that appeared a little digital-heavy slide. Plus, anything that made me scream like a tweener in the front row during a Justin Bieber concert didn’t look phony at the time, that’s for damn sure.
We found a great piece written by Mike Olson (that’s his quote above, as well as the one right after the jump) from Thecredits.org that goes into a little more detail on what it took (other than Javier Botet’s frame and movements) to bring the title character in Mama to ghostly life-you can read it below by clicking on the big red link below.
“He’s very frail and can get his body into all these weird positions,” says Weintraub of Botet, and it is those contortions that serve as a physical manifestation of Mama’s tortured past, as well as the present-day horrors she’ll visit upon anyone who gets close to the “daughters” she’s adopted.
What did the Mama character look like on set? Was a lot of her CG?
No, no, most of it wasn’t CG. We had this amazing Spanish actor performer who was Mama. His name is Javier Botet. He has this insane body — he’s like the skinniest guy I’ve ever seen, and very long-limbed. Then they had the special FX team from Pan’s Labyrinth who did his head, so he had four or five hours everyday in make-up, so he came out every day looking more or less like Mama. But without the flowing hair, they added that after. But he was there to shoot. He had those crazy movements. It was weird the first time we saw him on set because he has a crazy look… He had these latex fingers and he would touch me like this [wraps fingers around his neck] — it was disgusting. And Jessica, she has these fights with him. It was all him.
Perhaps that’s why, in most of the reaction shots, none of the acting talent didn’t have to dig unusually deep to look terrified. In fact, if I were one of them, I’d put in my contract that I had to meet Botet before the shoot, and peek in on him a couple times while he was in the make-up chair. Either that, or tell the costume department I’d need room in my wardrobe for a pair of Depends.
This is one of the moments in the movie “Mama” that has led me to advise anyone seeing it in the theater to use the restroom BEFORE the movie begins.
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.*
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.
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!