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When watching a CGI monster movie, it can be easy to forget that there’s an actual person in a motion capture suit performing the role. In the case of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, actor Alan Maxson played one of three actors who formed the terrifying King Ghidorah. Now, he's revealed the difference between playing a human and a creature.
Creature actor Alan Maxson recently spoke a bit about his acting process when playing a creature. Believe it or not, it’s not entirely dissimilar to how he approaches playing a human character, but with one caveat. Here’s what he had to say:
The way I approach acting for creature roles vs "human" roles are almost the same. My character still has intentions and backstory that motivate my actions, but there is one major difference. Usually, creature roles involve a large amount of movement while under heavy prosthetics, makeup, or a full bodysuit, which is something I have to take into consideration when performing. Will my movement look the same through my prosthetic? Do I need to over or under exaggerate my movement based on how thick my suit is?
In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, King Ghidorah looks like a giant three-headed dragon. So Alan Maxson, Jason Liles, and Richard Dorton all formed the creature together while wearing motion-capture suits.
Alan Maxson has played a wide variety of creatures throughout his career, requiring him to put on makeup and prosthetic suits. As you can imagine, these suits aren’t always comfortable or easy to move around in, making his job more challenging. While speaking with ComicBookMovie.com, he later added:
A lot of times, a director will ask me to practice and study a particular type of movement, but once I'm in the suit, it all goes out the window based on the limitations of that specific costume. Improv and quick thinking are crucial for the many unknowns of creature acting. Sometimes it goes 100% according to plan, other times, I have to get creative on how to portray a character.
To make sure King Ghidorah didn’t end up being seen as just another dragon by audiences, director Michael Dougherty also tried to play up the human characteristics of the monster. So he gave each of the motion capture actors different personalities to work with when creating King Ghidorah. With that said, all three motion-capture actors did a great job bringing King Ghidorah to life on the big screen.