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Monday, February 21, 2022

‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Effects Artist Todd Tucker Reveals Leatherface’s New Design [Exclusive Photos]

Leatherface may be a Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise constant, but his look isn’t thanks to his penchant for donning other people’s faces. Factor in different actors portraying the horror icon, shifts in tone and style, and you’ve got a different character design with each new entry.

Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre picks up nearly fifty years after the 1974 original film, with a much older and long-dormant Leatherface. His territorial, homicidal tendencies reawaken with an unstoppable fury when young influencers disrupt his sanctuary. Legendary turned to Illusion Industries Inc owner, special makeup effects artist, and creative supervisor Todd Tucker for this iteration of the character. 

Tucker walked Bloody Disgusting through the design process and the grimier updates that set this Leatherface apart.

The artist revealed that the project came during the early height of the pandemic, creating added complications. He credits his righthand man, Key Designer, Sculptor and Applicator Martin Astles and his incredible team, “Miles Teves did some production design for what Leatherface looks like underneath the mask. Chris Gallagher created all of the dentures for his teeth. John Donahue, who was also doing some 2D work for us, helped us develop the look of the overall body and the wardrobe. At one point, we were talking about possibly having Leatherface wearing a dress.”

That’s right; we came close to seeing a rampaging Leatherface in a dress.

Tucker explains, “That was going to be the dress of the lady whose face he’s wearing. That was all because of his love for her; his rampage is an homage to her. But that got ruled out. We did designs to show them what that would look like and gave them different looks for what the body style, how thick he should be, thin, all that good stuff.

The team put a lot of thought into every aspect of Leatherface’s look, from head to toe, with one clear direction from Legendary. Tucker explains, “They wanted to make sure that everything that happened in that first movie was consistent with what was happening in this film, for the most part. Their train of thought was the first movie is the only thing that exists. The rest of them do not. Everything in this movie was based on the first movie only.”

Even Leatherface’s look underneath the mask factored into the design process. “Miles Teves did some designs for us of what Leatherface might look like underneath the face. The idea was to create someone that felt the right age and had been pretty beaten down over the years in general and to create something that had a little bit of sympathy attached to it. We put little scars on him, and we messed up his teeth because we wanted him to feel dirty and give him some grit.”

Leatherface actor Mark Burnham

It doesn’t take long for Leatherface to slip into someone’s skin, though, and Tucker and Astles further developed the concept of the horror icon’s humanity through their designs. “We created a lot of these faces. They were all silicone faces. They all had to be hand punched with eyebrows and eyelashes. There is a lot of detail in these things to make it look literally like somebody’s face had just been ripped off. It was interesting too because the studio wanted us to make the face look really scary when we started doing it. Martin and I talked about it, and when he sculpted it, he sculpted it to have a sad look about it.”

Tucker considered the character’s arc and fought to keep the design.

“We were looking at it, and the guys at Legendary were like, ‘No, it’s got to be scary. It’s got to be scary.’ It’s almost like when you took Michael Myers and gave him an emotionless face. If we took Leatherface and made him look scary, then there’s nowhere for him to go from there. But by giving him a look of sadness and then having him go on the rampage, Leatherface can have emotion now because when he’s not killing you, if he’s looking down at the ground and he’s thinking, he has emotion now. He’s not always pissed off. I feel like we really stuck to our guns, and then they ended up going, ‘Yeah. Okay.'”

leatherface new mask Netflix

Once the mask design was locked down, the other tricky aspect of bringing this version of Leatherface to life was maintaining the continuity during the shoot thanks to the sheer volume of gore and splatter. Because of COVID conditions, only one artist could go to Bulgaria when production began. Tucker sent his righthand man and franchise expert Astles to handle set applications.

“We made some wigs; we made dentures, and we made the look of everything underneath the mask. We made the mask, and then Martin went there and battled it on set in Bulgaria. It was hard. It was tricky because the pandemic made it so you couldn’t ship anything. It was hard to get stuff in other countries. We ended up having Martin take a lot of it with him; as much as we could get done before he left. We ended up making multiple, multiple sets of teeth. I think we made like twenty-something faces. Because we knew that not only was Leatherface actor Mark Burnham going to be in the mask, but we knew that Martin would have to put all these other stunt guys in makeups too. They had to be able to fit them and look the same.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre makes for Leatherface’s goriest outing yet, which meant the standard nonsequential order of shooting scenes would be tricky in maintaining the various stages of Leatherface.

Tucker explained, “That was a nightmare. We created so many different faces because what would happen is something would happen on pages 50 through 55 in the script, and at that point, whatever blood is happening to or around him has to stay consistent from that point on and get worse as it goes on. All of these different faces gave the timeline of the story. Anytime they went back to a different part of the script, you had to pull out the right face that was bloodied at the right level at that point in the script.”

netflix leatherface mask

Illusion Industries Inc put a lot of effort and thought into this new take on Leatherface for fans and by fans of the franchise. When asked what detail Tucker would like fans to notice above all, he answered, “The fans are watching everything you do, so for us, we want to make sure that we’re respectful of the character himself. Neither Martin nor I took this lightly. I love the idea that Leatherface has a look of sadness because, for me, that changes the whole ball game. It gives him more range as a character that people will read into in the same way that they read into the lack of emotion on Michael Myers; that became everything for that character. That face is part of why that character is what he is. I think the bit of sadness that Leatherface has, and then knowing what he does afterward. Because by the end of the movie, you can’t even see his face. He’s covered in splatter. There’s no sadness left.”

Netflix’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Trailer Brings Back Leatherface and Sally Hardesty!

The post ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Effects Artist Todd Tucker Reveals Leatherface’s New Design [Exclusive Photos] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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