Rick Lazzarini

Creature Effects veteran, Animatronics Designer and head of The Character Shop, Rick Lazzarini has just about seen (and done) it all.

Rick Lazzarini has created some of the most realistic animals & memorable FX characters. Whether it's tiny or giant, Rick's work always has character.
Alec Gillis
Creature Character Designer, Makeup Effects Maestro and co-founding co-owner, Amalgamated Dynamics

About Rick

Rick makes creatures, animals, robots, and crazy things for a living.  Steven Spielberg has called him a "genius". To his FACE!  John Candy laughed at his jokes during the filming of SPACEBALLS, and Mel Brooks even cast him as both Pizza the Hut and a horseback riding chimp for the film's end sequence.  Rick has thrown up on Charlie Sheen's boat.  Guillermo Del Toro told him he makes the "most realistic blood I've ever seen."  Jim Cameron shared a banana with him once.  In a limo.

Rick brings the skills and technologies of prosthetics, animatronics and puppetry together to make a world of incredible beings.  Rick's amazing work has been featured in such films as PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES, SNAKES ON A PLANE, WILLARD, BIG TROUBLE, MIMIC, DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR, CASPER, OUTBREAK, THE SANTA CLAUSE, HOCUS POCUS, GHOSTBUSTERS II, SPACEBALLS and many more.  He's known for creating the running Facehugger mechanism, and inner Queen Alien animatronics for the Oscar-Winning ALIENS while working for Stan Winston Studio.  Few can match the quality or quantity of memorable, iconic creatures and characters he's created for major feature films, and hundreds of television commercials that are recognized worldwide, such as the Foster Farms Chickens, an animatronic Alligator for Verizon, and others.

Lazzarini has built and puppeteered creations from a miniature six inch replica of Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell for HOOK, to life- sized elephants for OPERATION: DUMBO DROP, all the way up to a beautiful 20 foot tall marionette for Mayflower Moving.  The menagerie of animatronic animals in residence at Lazzarini's Character Shop include a gigantic raven, scores of snakes, a realistic puma, a trio of hyenas, several chickens, a sheep, turtles, apes, rats, a chipmunk, a water buffalo, and two dolphins ready to take a road trip.  He's created Buzzards, Frogs, Dogs, Aliens, Anteaters, Tortoises, Lobsters, and so many more for Commercial clients such as Ford, Chevy, Coca Cola, McDonald's, Cheerios, Budweiser, Sony, Duracell…and the list just goes on and on.

Rick had an early love of comic books and apes, behind-the-scenes revelations about PLANET OF THE APES, making Super 8 Movies with ambitious yet adorably amateur effects, and being a super-geek.  Combined with tenacity, persistence, and hard work (and even a little bit of talent) this developed into a life-long passion for animatronics and effects.  A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Rick got his start at prop houses and working at Makeup Effects Labs, John Dykstra's Apogee, Richard Edlund's Boss Films, and Stan Winston Studio. He opened up his own studio, The Character Shop, in 1986, and has been an industry leader from the start.

Lazzarini can sculpt, make molds, research and develop in the lab, come up with incredible animatronic designs and mechanisms, and then bring his characters to life with virtuoso puppeteering skills. He is one of the top Creature Makers in Hollywood and he's always innovating, always looking for a new or more clever way to make something.  Rick’s forte is putting together great crews, then challenging himself and his crew to fulfill their potential.  Under his tutelage, Rick's team is able to combine many disciplines to create incredibly lifelike and complex moving creatures.

Rick is a man of honor who knows his stuff.  He delivers the very best to his clients, on time and under budget.  He has been a consultant to the medical community for which he was contracted to create lifelike surgical training models for Cedars Sinai.  He is an excellent teacher, having taught courses at UCLA, AFI and USC.  He heads his own Animatronics Institute, giving hands on lessons to eager students in animatronic creature design and creation.  And he is honored to share his knowledge and expertise with you.