Untold Tales of Hollywood #37

Film #10: Heavy Metal (1981)
Directed by Barrie Nelson
Written by Dan O’Bannon

I only worked on the B-17 sequence in this film, designing gremlins. Again, my work on this was a quick favor for some friends on the movie, as I was still working full time on Conan the Barbarian.

Lots of jobs and job offers flowed into Ron Cobb‘s and my Conan art department. If we could turn a job or problem around quickly for a friend, we usually did so.

In this case, the Heavy Metal folks contacted me (I think it was through Ron), asking me to direct the B-17 sequence and design the story’s gremlins. Because of Conan, I didn’t have the time to direct the  B-17 story but I was honored to be asked. I drew up several different kinds of gremlins for them (I think Cobb drew some, too), though. I think I might have copies of those designs — but who knows where?

Now, did any of our designs get used in the movie? Maybe, but truly, I have no idea. Perhaps I should watch it again.

3 Responses to “Untold Tales of Hollywood #37”

  1. Chris says:

    The sequence concept was changed, as I understand it, and it ended up with animated corpses instead of gremlins. Also, I believe that Potterton directed the whole film, but Nelson directed this segment. Certainly, it was written by Dan O’Bannon, not Nelson.

    Looking around, this article mentions the earlier concept of gremlins as being different than the final product’s animated corpses, and includes stills from the final product as well as one production design image showing gremlins.

  2. Bill says:

    @Chris: Thanks for the additional information!

  3. Bill says:

    I just made the credit changes.

    O’Bannon’s involvement explains my (and Cobb’s) involvement. More often than not, it is Who You Know in this biz.

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