Like most horror fans, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with 2007’s I Am Legend. Directed by Francis Lawrence and based on the novel of the same name by Richard Matheson, it arrived at the height of the great zombie resurgence of the 2010s. It obviously had a huge budget, but Will Smith is only charming until he’s insufferable and no one liked those CGI creepers.
It turns out, I Am Legend almost had a different director—and a much darker aesthetic. Before zombies were all the rage (1997), Ridley Scott was attached to direct I Am Legend for Warner Bros. with Arnold Schwarzenegger on board to play Robert Neville. Best of all Alec Gillis of StudioADI was on board to create some seriously terrifying (practical) zombies, some that put the ones in Lawrence’s film to shame.
We know this because Gillis shared concept appliances and makeup tests he’d created for Scott’s I Am Legend with his Instagram followers—and they’re completely terrifying! Have a look.
Ridley Scott’s version of I AM LEGEND was to have starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and featured ‘hemocytes’ realized as makeup characters. I think we did our design exploratory in about 1997 ( is that right @h2originals?) Ridley was influenced by wax figures from the 17th century. We did a test on a single female subject to show her in a few stages of emaciation. The appliance pieces were sculpted by @ryankennethpeterson and Steve Koch and applied by @Tom_woodruffjr, myself and Barry Koper. Shortly after we shot the test at ADI Warner
decidednot to make the movie. The budget was coming in 10 million higher than desired. It all got shelved until the Francis Lawrence/ Will Smith version years later. We did get an interview on that version but there was next to no interest in makeup fx. Contribbingsculptors were @schellsculpturestudio and Jeff Boccaccio. Tech work helmed by @h2originals. Paint by Mike Larrabee.