JoJo’s Hollywood Stories: Interview with Clark Schaffer

JoJo’s Hollywood Stories: Interview with Clark Schaffer March 19, 2014


(We at Geek Goes Rogue are…welll….Geeks. And, we love to hear behind the scenes stuff. Clark Schaffer is a wizard in all things artistic, prop development and other artistic things that make movies real. He’s done over forty movies and is one of the most talent individuals we’ve ever seen. Jo Schaffer, our intrepid reporter for all things behind the scenes, didnt’ have travel far for this one, as Clark is her husband.)

I really liked the original Iron Man movie back when it came out. The soundtrack alone sold it for me. I mean, come on! Black Sabbath would make even Dr. Who seem hardcore. Robert Downey Jr. played the narcissistic,Tony Stark with such roguish charm that somehow I forgave the heights of his swagger. The story was cool, the FX were awesome, as superhero movies go it’s a win in my opinion.  Of course I was thrilled when my husband was asked to work on Iron Man 2.

Me: So, Clark tell us about what you did on IM2.

Clark Schaffer: It was fun returning to Hollywood to design and build suits for Iron Man II. This project reunited me with some of my friends at Legacy (formerly Stan Winstons). I was brought in to contribute the  creation of the mark II suit they dubbed the Autopsy suit. Specifically, designing and building the mechanical hardware and inner workings of the outfit. I shared the task with Randy Cooper, one of the greatest model makers in the business and a longtime friend.

Me: How do you feel about working on, (and I borrow the term) a “tradigital” FX film?

Clark Schaffer: I really appreciate the directors approach to creating this FX intensive show. Jon Favreau Has a personal love for models and practical FX and a great understanding how to best mix them with the greatest of digital technology. I feel that this approach provides some of the better and more convincing FX sequences showcased in today’s movies. We built the autopsy suit in four quick weeks finishing just in time for it to ship to location.

Me: Have any unknown nuggets to share?

Clark Schaffer: While I was there, David Copperfield visited, evidently trying to figure out how to accomplish a new illusion.

Me: Sooo … he isn’t magic?

Clark Schaffer: No. We are.

Me: I agree. Visual FX are magical. The blend of traditional and digital FX does seem to have the best look. I really enjoyed Favreau’s film, Zathura for that reason. And Peter Jackson’s use of models in The Lord Of The Rings movies are a successful example of the beauty of “tradigital” FX. Seems to be a revival of traditional FX in Hollywood lately.

Clark Schaffer: Yeah. Miniatures have gotten so good that  people don’t even know that’s what they’re seeing. It’s a lot of fun.

So there you go. Another Schaffer Hollywood Flashback. Enjoy the pics. And be jealous … I have an Iron Man Mask in my garage.


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