#016 : Defining “movie prop”

What defines a movie prop? I define it as “an object that was actually used in a movie scene sequence”. To use in different scenes sequences or to prepare for damage or loss when shooting a movie, the production designers prepare the same prop in multiple quantities. That said, there could be a slight difference in detail between two props, let alone the difficulty of trying to mimic something with a complicated structure like the Endoskeleton. Or if different people created the props, then the finish can surely differ.

I always had this in mind while creating the Animatronic Bust ver. 1.1. When trying to design details, I always bumped into small differences in detail when referring to screenshots of the movie or pictures in reference books, which made me go crazy to figure out which one is the “true” prop. But in the end, I realized that for me, and my project, “there is no true prop”. I am trying to create a “Terminator”, and not a “replica of a prop”. I am trying to create something from a delusional dream if you will, and not something that really exists. “If the Terminator truly existed.” I focused on how to bring to life the Endoskeleton from the pursuit scene sequence in the factory towards the end of the original movie, and forget about spending too much time digging through pictures and documentation. Of course, I am not going to come up with something different from the original Terminator based on my delusions or egotistic interpretation. I won’t go purchase blue LEDs because I fantasized that the eyes might glow blue, or bring pliers to pull out a tooth because I thought it would look better. Any self-righteous interpretation would make myself the laughingstock of all Terminator fanatics.

The T-STUDIO Animatronic Bust was designed by reviewing and combining the details of numerous props. Comparing it with the actual movie, I feel confident that the Animatronic Bust has successfully impersonated the Endoskeleton in the factory pursuit.

The above six pictures are of the life-size Endoskeleton on display at the “Tomenosuke Shoten” shop at Takayama city in the Gifu Prefecture in Japan. The shop owner, Mr. Shinji Nakako, was a journalist and the first person to introduce the word “SFX” to Japan, and was a friend of Stan Winston. Originally displayed at the Stan Winston Studios office, the prop from the waist down is an authentic prop actually used in the original movie shooting, and the head is said to be from the original movie as well. The other parts of the body has parts from T2, so as a whole it is a blend of props from T1 and T2. Terminator fans not only from Japan but from around the world visit this store to see this valuable piece.

Seeing the prop in person, I felt a kind of divinity shining from it. It was more than a movie prop, but the presence of a piece of art.