Main · Concept Art · Visual Effects · Make-up Effects · On Location · Props/Costume · Choreography · Goblok's Story


The incredible special effects team of The Hunt For Gollum had a huge challenge in creating
a large band of orcs for the film - to both emulate the style of Weta Workshop and
match the script's requirements all on a microbudget.

"Build me an army worthy of Mordor".

Luke McNally is a self taught sculptor and special makeup effects artist. He designed and supervised all the prosthetics in
The Hunt For Gollum ensuring that the look of the orcs remained true to the Trilogy.

The actors had their heads cast in plaster so sculpting of an orc face could begin over this life-cast. Sculpting in
clay, Luke adds minute detail from skin wrinkles to previous war wounds, giving each orc a unique character. Finally
a mould is created from the sculpture and a latex mask formed which fits the actors face perfectly,
allowing them to talk/scream/gargle in a grotesquely lifelike way..

Luke created more than 10 masks for The Hunt For Gollum and is also working
on our sister production Born of Hope.



Luke McNally - Lead Designer

How did you get involved in the project?

Through Born of Hope, Chris asked Kate for my name cus he liked my stuff.

Why did you get involved in the project?

Another brilliant excuse to make some Orcs!

What did your role in the project involve?

Obviously I had to create a number of masks; 5 originals (with duplicates) and 3 from the BOH trailer. I had to co-ordinate the SFX team on the shoot (this is pretty easy when working with such a talented bunch!).

Have you ever worked on anything like this before?

My first film project was BOH, I met Kate in 2004 and so began my journey into the world of special FX. Prior to BOH my main experience was sculpting. At the age of 12 I started an arts and crafts business with my Dad, sculpting famous celebrities from which we produced plastic masks. The idea was that people could buy them, paint them, stick them on their wall, or even wear them to sporting events! However, after a trip to the States to meet with the head of merchandising for the WWF we were told we needed money upfront which we didn't have. The business didn't succeed, but on the plus side I learnt I could sculpt.

From then on I focused more on academia and football, I just didn't see any possible careers in Art. It wasn't until LOTR was released that I realised I could use my talent to contribute to one of the greatest art-forms of recent times, Film. It opened my eyes to the amazing work being produced in FX studios right now. I was inspired!!!

Can you talk about the process of making the orc masks?

It's quite involved, I had to life-cast the actor, sculpt the orc over that, cast the sculpture, then produce the prosthetic from the cast. After that I painted and finished the masks, which sould then be applied on the day of the shoot.

How has working with the director been?

Great, he's a really talented guy and I hope I'll be able to work with him in the future!

How do you think the orcs masks came off in the end?

Mostly good. Some were rushed (Josh's in particular) and I think it shows. It's the most disappointing part for me.

The toughest thing about the project so far?

Fitting it in around all my other work commitments, I wish I could do this full time!

The funnest part of the project?

The Epping Forest shoot without a doubt! It was easily one of the best experiences of my life, getting to see 10 of my orcs running through the forest... Fantastic!

Have you been impressed by the scale of the production?

Definitely, working with so many talented people, in such amazing locations has been really inspiring!

What constraints did having a low budget put on what you could do?

It limited the materials I could use and the method of application, ie we could only afford latex pull-over masks. However, I think the main thing with prosthetics is to get a good sculpting, that goes some way to covering inferior production methods. I hope the final film shows that good results can be achieved with a very limited budget.

What advice would you have for anyone wanting to get started in prosthetics?

Learn how to sculpt!!! A lot of people will be capable of producing a prosthetic once the sculpture is complete. But not many people are capable of producing the sculpting in the first place! Aside from that, research as much as possible, get practicing on friends and family and try to get involved in low budget projects like this. My experience is that everyone is willing to help you out, give you info and just generally discuss movie making!

Now, Luke works as a Technical Assistant for an Actuarial firm in Bromsgrove, West Midlands. In his spare time he's working hard to build up his SFX experience and develop a kick-ass portfolio. Watch this space for Luke's online portfolio, in the mean time if you would like to get in contact with him then email him on luke.psychophish“@”






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