Imageworks VFX Supervisor Jerome Chen Talks About Bringing The Lizard To Life

The Lizard is brought to life in The Amazing Spider-Man entirely through the use of visual effects, so how did Jerome Chen and his team go about making the villain as look as realistic as possible? Read on for details.

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By Josh Wilding - 6/17/2012

Jerome Chen, an Academy Award-nominated VFX supervisor who has been with Imageworks since its founding 20 years ago, had this to say about bringing the villain to life on the big screen with the use of visual effects. "He’s such an iconic villain from the comic books. And there have been so many variations - our departure point started with a beautiful sculpt done at Legacy. Our Lizard was almost nine feet tall, muscular and powerful, with a sweeping tail. The face is humanoid, which was important to provide us with a connection to the human Dr. Connors, as performed by Rhys Ifans."

"Marc wanted the Lizard’s skin to have loose folds – like a Komodo Dragon – but still feel the power of the muscles moving beneath them," he said about the work which went into adding the incredible detail to the look of the Lizard. "I was taught that the key to making an animated character believable is that the audience has to see that this character is thinking. And our access point was Rhys Ifans. When he’s in Lizard mode, what’s his thought process? What would his performance be like?" Of course, this involved working closely with the actor and video reference became an essential tool for the animators. "Marc directed Rhys during the key emotive moments when the Lizard was on screen. Though the Lizard rarely speaks in the film, there are many moments where we have to read his eyes and his expression."

For the action scenes, a seven foot tall stuntman (dressed entirely in black so he could be removed during post production) was used to portray the nine-foot-tall Lizard. He would then grapple with Andrew Garfield, meaning that the villain could be digitally inserted and would match up with the stuntman's motions in order to create an entirely authentic looking battle. Is the Lizard one of the things you're most looking forward to seeing in The Amazing Spider-Man? Sound off with your thoughts in the usual place.






The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearance - leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr Curt Connors (Ifans), his father's former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.


STARRING:

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Rhys Ifans as Curt Connors/The Lizard
Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben
Sally Fields as Aunt May
Denis Leary as George Stacy

RELEASE DATE: July 3rd, 2012.


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24 Comments
comiccow6 - 6/17/2012, 1:55 PM
I was skeptical at first. Then Lizard was announced, and this was a must see! Can't wait!
superotherside - 6/17/2012, 1:56 PM
Well, I will say so far Lizard is alright IMO. I'd say I'm waiting to see how he plays out. There is too much hate on him IMO honestly. Still I would have prefered him to have some pants and a lab coat. It's kinda the same thing of why you have hulk have pants. LOL.
ChadSuplee - 6/17/2012, 1:58 PM
Dear Owner of comicbookmovie.com,
Can you please delete the account of obnoxiously annoying user known as "grif"?

Much appreciated.
CaptainObvious - 6/17/2012, 2:06 PM
Too bad Imageworks is the same company that did the visual effects for this:
thewonderer - 6/17/2012, 2:09 PM
For once, I agree with Grif
95 - 6/17/2012, 2:16 PM
I'm not fond of ImagesWorks. @CaptainObvious' video is a big indicator. Gonna be real painful seeing this ugly ass green lizard after seeing The Green Goliath Hulk brought to life in incredble-fashion. I mean, seriously, everything about TASM looks good but it's villain. Why give him a more human face? That increases the [frick]ing chance for falling down the Uncanny Valley. Sony— WETA performance capture. Call them next time.
breakUbatman - 6/17/2012, 2:17 PM
So he hardly speaks as the lizard? I guess they could have appeased the snout fans then.

Verbose - 6/17/2012, 2:21 PM
Yes please, powers that be, make Grif go away.
bamboo06 - 6/17/2012, 2:26 PM
GRIF OUT NOW !!!!
preacher - 6/17/2012, 2:53 PM
I'm pretty psyched for this! At first I was skeptical with it coming out so soon after the last Spider-Man trilogy but I recently read the Ultimate Spider-Man compilations and REALLY enjoyed them for a different take on a comic book icon I had grown up with.

Now, the Lizard, on the other hand, damn, I wish he would've looked more like the one in the comic, alligatorish, with the snout and fangs and all of that. But, then he should've been called "The Alligator". This guy looks more like what Killer Croc looks like in Arkham Asylum. Who SHOULD look like an alligator. Go figure. Anyways...I'll wait for the movie so I can make more of an informed opinion which it seems so many people on here (grif!) seem to have a hard time doing. LOL!

As far as Grif goes...ignore him. He's just doing it for the attention. And his comments make me laugh sometimes.
AmazingFantasy - 6/17/2012, 3:17 PM
Lizard looks very good, had my doubts but I like the look now.
ChadSuplee - 6/17/2012, 3:19 PM
@Preacherfanatic7

Damn Right. Anyways, There is not a single thing grif can say that's going make my anticipation for this film disappear because unlike him...I'm going to wait for the movie, BEFORE I judge it. btw It looks effing cool!!
Durf - 6/17/2012, 3:52 PM
So let me get this straight. He rarely talks, but you couldn't put a [frick]ing snout on him!

And why does he need to have a human element in his face? He is supposed to be animalistic and dangerous, with only limited control! That is another reason the Lizard is dangerous, he is almost impossible to reason with, kinda like an animal!

The Lizard(the look anyway) is the only thing I am not excited about in regards to this movie. Other than that, I think the movie is going to rock!
Durf - 6/17/2012, 3:54 PM
And yeah I agree that there should be intelligence to the Lizard, but he should also have lots of areas where he loses control completely and goes savage
Durf - 6/17/2012, 4:06 PM
@batty: exactly! good call
Acerimmer1 - 6/17/2012, 4:40 PM
For me the lizard himself was always stronger as a monster than a character. It was a great move by marvel when they made him mute and more animalistic.
GUNSMITH - 6/17/2012, 7:10 PM
Shadowelfz - 6/17/2012, 8:20 PM
Too bad the result is this piece of shit. -Chloefornication.

Agreed. Lizard looks like crap. Hopefully the rest of the movies good.
iJackSparrow - 6/17/2012, 8:48 PM
@Preacherfanatic7 I think I am more than qualified as a nerd. I'm an über nerd. And I listen to alt-rock and damn I used to try my luck with my old skateboard. I sucked, sucked so much that I've injured my right knee trying to pull a trick that was pretty nasty. But I am a nerd. I don't understand the concept of nerd that some people have. Skaters aren't even "cool" anymore. If I can believe that the spider powers make Peter capable of websling, it's quite easy to see him trying his luck with a skateboard too.

As for he Lizard, I think that just like Hulk, when he is in movement and with a 3D screen in front of me, he is menacing as hell. And he does look awful, but in a good way.
iJackSparrow - 6/17/2012, 8:49 PM
Once again endorsing Owlman's statement.
kingshnake - 6/18/2012, 6:07 AM
Marvel needs multi-million dollar special effects and a seven(7!) foot tall stuntman to create the Lizard. Give Nolan a muzzle and a furry coat and he creates something to top Heath Ledger's Joker(also Nolan).
PsychoJester70 - 6/18/2012, 6:28 AM
I may be wrong, but I remember Rhys Ifans saying in a very early interview (before we were even sure what villain he was) that he refused to do the movie if you couldn't see his full face while in character. It was one of his stipulations for signing on. I therefore (at least partially), blame him for the lack of a snout.

While there is something to be said for the original version of the lizard and the amzing concept behind it, I'm personally just a way bigger fan of the "snouted" version.

Now, only having four digits on the regrown arm...that's brilliant!!!
GodzillaKart - 6/18/2012, 6:42 AM
This looks awesome...and someone needs to help Batty with his punctuation.
Hitboyj - 6/18/2012, 7:37 AM
Ag let not talk now and just watch it. I am kinda excited coz of the game.

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