Special Effects Artist Legend Rick Baker is Retiring from Hollywood
Well this is sad. On a recent radio show, special effects and make-up artist legend Rick Baker announced that he was retiring from filmmaking. "The time is right, I am 64 years old, and the business is crazy right now. I like to do things right, and they wanted cheap and fast," Baker said in an interview on 89.3 KPCC (via THR). "That is not what I want to do, so I just decided it is basically time to get out." Baker has been working in the industry for over 40 years, and is now 64, he's had a huge impact on the industry and been a part of movie history for so long. He last worked on Maleficent, Tron Legacy plus MIB 3, and runs a studio.
Baker explains that it's the CG craze that has killed off his business and line of work, and the practical work he does is still not as grand as it used to be. Baker designed some of the practical make-up and special effects for classics like Star Wars, An American Werewolf in London, The Rocketeer, Gremlins 2, Men in Black, Ed Wood, and the Planet of the Apes remake. He says the industry changed and he had to sell his Glendale creature shop and lay off his staff. "I did Men in Black 3, which was good for that [kind of shop], but the last film I did was Maleficent and I could've done that in a garage, basically." Sad to hear him say it.
Here's a video via The Academy on Rick Baker's Collection - "inside his studio for a behind-the-scenes look":
It sounds like Baker will still keep his collection, but won't run a full shop anymore. "First of all, the CG stuff definitely took away the animatronics part of what I do. It's also starting to take away the makeup part," he adds. "I would consider designing and consulting on something, but I don't think I will have a huge working studio anymore." Just another indication of the sign of the times, and the way the industry changes, pushing out classic work and going for digital almost completely. Sad to hear. But as SlashFilm reminds us, not only do we have all of his past work to appreciate, which is plentiful & amazing, but "we can hope that at least one more persuasive producer or director will be able to convince him to work on one last production, with a proper budget." Maybe one day, maybe. In the meantime, lots of Baker's old collection will be auctioned off.