Some interesting tidbits about Russ Adams, creature creator

Saturday , March 22, 2014 - 9:22 AM

Russ Adams, owner of Escape Design Effects, smooths out a lion head Wednesday, March 12, 2014 in...

Becky Cairns, Standard-Examiner Staff

Here are two stand-out facts about Russ Adams, a contestant representing Ogden on “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.”

• He’s color blind. Yes, it’s true, this mask and creature designer says he has trouble distinguishing between reds and greens. “Usually, it’s human skin tones that give me the most problem,” Adams says.

Occasionally during the filming of the Syfy show, Adams says he’d ask someone else on set, “What color does this look like to you?”

But fortunately, Adams says, he didn’t have another “Marley lion fiasco,” referring to the creation of his first lion mask, named in honor of Bob Marley because of its mane made of dreadlocks.

Adams’ fiancee, Jaymee Lords, wanted to know why the lion looked like he had been abused — his face was covered with painful red welts. All along, Adams thought he’d been adding brown patches of coloration.

“I had to go back and repaint everything. ... I had to scrub all these red welts off of here,” he says, showing off the lion mask.

• He has a master’s degree in literature. Adams earned the degree in 2011 from Weber State University and says his background in the classics affects the way he looks at creature designing.

“It’s just weird how we arrive at some of the creatures we do when they’re so different from the (original) storyline,” he says.

Take Frankenstein, for instance. The character in Mary Shelley’s 1818 book was physically agile and highly intelligent, Adams says. “The zombie-like creature that Hollywood developed is nothing like Mary Shelley developed, and I think we lost a lot,” he says.

When he develops a creature, Adams says, he pays close attention to the vision of the author or script writer.

“It’s sort of like showing respect to a fellow artist,” he says, “that you’re not messing with what they created.”

— Becky Cairns

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