Behind The Scenes

AI: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - "Teddy" Animatronic Puppet Rehearsal

AI: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - "Teddy" Animatronic Puppet Rehearsal, Stan Winston Studio, behind the scenes

Nov 7, 2015

A REAL "TEDDY" BEAR

Stan Winston had more experience building robots than any other creature effects artist in the world — but the robots of AI would be unlike anything Winston, or anybody else, had ever created.

Although Winston and his crew were not afforded the chance to build the world’s first fully functioning animatronic boy for the film, AI did require them to create robots — dozens of them, in fact. These robots, called ‘mechas’ in the story, ranged from the utilitarian type — such as gardeners, security guards, and other blue-collar workers — to Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a true ‘love machine’, and Teddy, a robotic teddy bear who serves as David’s sidekick. 

Surprisingly, of all the robots designed for AI, the most difficult to conceptualize was Teddy, the ‘supertoy’ that would be a featured player in the film. “Designing Teddy was a huge job,” said Winston, who hired his largest crew ever to complete the robot construction project. At the height of production, Stan Winston Studio boasted 140 artists and technicians. Building Teddy, a more sophisticated and complex animatronic than any of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, required that increased manpower, plus the ingenuity and talent of many artists and technicians. “We’d given our Velociraptor thirty-four points of motion,” explained Winston, “and our T-rex, forty points of motion. But Teddy had fifty points of motion, all in a little character that was less than three feet tall. He had to act, he had to talk, and he had to deliver a varied and convincing performance. We had to create the ultimate robotic teddy bear — and that was the biggest, most difficult job we’d ever taken on.”

Excerpted from THE WINSTON EFFECT: THE ART AND HISTORY OF STAN WINSTON STUDIO
by Jody Duncan

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