I am not a Masochist
- Watching four GOP debates was more torture than any human should have to endure. I refused to watch a fifth.
- Instead I tuned into the pure science fiction of SyFy Channel's "Childhood's End". Don't let this mini-series get away from you. A quality production.
(New York Post) - The Syfy miniseries “Childhood’s End” wants to know: Would you trust this guy?
Based on the 1953 novel by Arthur C. Clarke, the three-part drama depicts the arrival of a seemingly friendly alien race that wants to make Earth a conflict-and- disease-free paradise for humans.
But as revealed in the final minutes of Monday night’s opener, alien leader Karellen (Charles Dance, “Game of Thrones”) closely resembles a most sinister depiction of Satan — down to the leathery skin, twisty horns, massive wings and long, pointy tail.
“It was clear from the get-go that Karellen look like the devil — not only the devil, but the devil that a child would draw in Sunday school,” says executive producer Matthew Graham. “That was key to the idea that Clarke had: These aliens’ appearance are deeply embedded in our psyche.”
The series continues at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. (On Monday, “Childhood’s End” was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award from the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, before the premiere had even aired.) In a recent interview, Graham dissected Karellen’s frightening appearance.
|Artist Raul Dominguez’s depiction of Karellan, one of the Overlords in |
Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End. (automatonera.com)
Heavy in more ways than one
“We built a prosthetic upper torso; it took about four to five hours to put on every morning. The face itself is a type of latex and is quite heavy. But Charles loves heavy rock music. [Laughs] So we downloaded all this heavy metal. He’d sit in the chair at 5 o’clock in the morning, play music, have a cup of tea and doze off while they worked on him. Then he’d open his eyes — and there Karellen was!”
Don’t mind his appearance
“There were times Charles appeared to forget he was wearing it on set and you’d see him smoking a cigarette and chatting away about politics or something — and there he was dressed as the devil. [Laughs] I loved that!”
They didn’t hide everything
“The careful design preserved something of the look of Charles because he has an amazing bone structure, an amazing face. You don’t want to obliterate that, so it was about finding balance.”
Dance’s costume was at first too, um, restrictive
“Originally he was covered from the knees all the way up around the crotch and over the chest. The problem with that was he couldn’t go to the bathroom. We decided to lose the legs completely. From the waist down Charles is wearing very attractive blue Lycra stockings so we could CGI things in afterwards.”
Satan’s statuesque stand-in
“The character’s supposed to be around 9 feet high. Every scene with Karellen you’d shoot close-ups with Charles. Wide shots involving walking around would be a stunt double, Harley Durst, in specially-designed stilts shaped like Karellen’s legs, with an inverted knee bend.”
The eyes had it
“Probably the most difficult for Charles was the contact lenses. He was okay for about half an hour, 45 minutes, and then they started to hurt. We went into the second hour of filming and his blinking would become much, much, much more rapid, and you realized that he was actually suffering. We’d take them out and he’d have a half an hour of recuperation.”
Clarke’s book gave Karellen “little horns,” but the series went big
“We did look at designs with little horns, but they looked like a fawn or a satyr or a magical forest creature, and we really did want Karellen to look as imposing as possible. Little horns just looked like an apology for horns.”
Shades were too comical
“The other aesthetic of Clarke’s that we decided not to use was in the book Karellen doesn’t like sunlight and wears aviator sunglasses when he goes outside. We tried very briefly to see what Karellen looked like wearing sunglasses, and we decided that it was a little counterproductive to creating this dignified, God-like image. [Laughs] That would be strange. There were some things of Arthur’s that you try to honor, and there were other things you just have to say, ‘Maybe that idea just works better in a book.’”Read More . . . .