Glen Eytchison wrote:In 1989 I produced the character Vigo the Carpathian for the film Ghostbusters 2. As you’ve mentioned, there seems to be some confusion out there as to how Vigo was created, and who was involved. Hopefully, this note will answer some of those questions.
First some background...
From 1979 through 1995 I was the Director of a production called the Pageant of the Masters. The Pageant is a theatrical production based on “Tableaux Vivant”, or living pictures, which has been performed every summer since 1933 in a 2662 seat amphitheater in Laguna Beach California. The production combines recreations of notable artworks with a live symphony orchestra and live narration. Since becoming affiliated with the Pageant, I’ve produced “living picture” effects for a number of feature films (such as GB2, The Devils Advocate and The Wild Wild West), Broadway shows (such as Hairspray and The Will Rogers Follies), and numerous television shows, commercials and live special events. Most of the personnel involved in the
production of the set for Vigo came from my Pageant crew.
I was asked to attend a meeting at ILM with the films Visual Effects Supervisor Ned Gorman, and Chief Visual Effects Coordinator Dennis Muren. In that meeting we discussed the various techniques used by the Pageant for creating living pictures and it was decided that I would produce the “practical” elements of the Vigo set. I was also asked to work with the ILM crew on the design of the source painting that would be our reference for building the effect.
I was given a file containing copies of 30 or so paintings produced by the ILM team that had been rejected by Director Ivan Reitman, mostly for being “to Conan...”. Back in Southern California, I assembled a team to start researching what a real Carpathian warlord from the period would wear into battle. ILM sent an animator to work with us, and we began developing a composition with each key element painted onto a separate layer of acetate. We took the layered composition, and all of our research, to a meeting with the ILM team, director Reitman and Executive Producer Michael Gross. We discussed our approach, the director made some subtle adjustments, and we had approval of phase 1.
Next, I took the layered acetate, all of the reference material and photos of Wilhelm von Homburg to an artist named Lou Police. Lou created the oil painting that would be the final reference for Vigo the Carpathian. Photos of the painting were sent to all involved, and the piece was immediately approved.
My primary responsibility was to ensure that the Vigo that came to life and interacted with the cast, looked exactly like the Vigo in the oil painting. Originally, a scaled up version of Lou’s oil painting was to be used in the early scenes, and our 3D recreation would be used later, but we soon realized this was not going to work. Ultimately, we decided to use the painting as reference, create our 3D set with Wilhelm, use Pageant techniques to light the set so it would appear flat, and then photograph the set. The photograph was then scaled, and aged using traditional techniques. This scaled photograph is the “painting” that is used for the first part of the film. When it came time to shoot the live action sequences, we simply placed Wilhelm back into the set and replicated the lighting used for the photo.
The set and costume were created in our shops in Laguna Beach. Wilhelm was not available so ILM sent us a full body cast, which served as a stand in while creating the costume. The entire package was shipped to ILM for the one week shoot.
The crew was assembled from my staff at the Pageant of the Masters. The set was designed by Richard Hill, and constructed by Richard, with John Clancy. Costume design and construction was by Skipper Skeoch and Marci O’malley. All sculptural elements in the set, such as the skull foreground, were carved by Judy Parker. The set and costume were painted by David Rymar and Leslie Turnbull. Diane Challis Davy provided additional supervision of physical production. Make up and prosthetics were designed by Tim Lawwrence and Michael Smithson from ILM. Michael was the make up artist for the shoot. Producer Michael Gross, Production Designer Bo Welch, and ILM’s Ned Gorman were with us constantly, providing direction and support.
It’s come to my attention that there are individuals on the web selling prints of Vigo. These individuals are also saying that they have the blessing of the artist that created the work. This is not true. I have never given anyone permission to sell copies of Vigo, for any reason. Further, as I’ve noted above, there were at least a hundred people involved in the creation of Vigo, from the production, from ILM, and from my team. No one person can claim to be “the artist” who created it.
The “painting” used in the film is owned by ILM and is hanging in their lobby. The original oil by Lou Police is hanging in Ivan Reitman’s home. All of the research, preliminary sketches, the acetate comps, photographic reference and production documentation are in my possesion. There are no other legitimate copies of Vigo in circulation.
Hopefully this will clear up some of the confusion. The painting was done by Glen Eytchison's team and was the only one used in the film. It is the one that is hanging up in ILM's office. The smaller oil painting was done by Lou Police and was only used as reference to how the final product would look. Glen oversaw all the work, and was perhaps the only person credited in the final credits for the production of the painting.
I have included a copy of the memo below.