FOND MEMORIES FROM DANIEL FALCONER
I first met actor Lawrence Makoare when he stepped out of the shadows to say boo as I was walking through a dark corridor late one night at Weta Workshop. What an introduction to the guy who would play one of the most memorable and terrifying bad guys of the trilogy! It was a case of mistaken identity, Lawrence thinking I was someone else and taking the opportunity to prank his friend, but once I’d recovered my composure we began chatting and quickly became friends.
That same impish sense of humour would serve Lawrence well as he undertook the remarkable and sometimes challenging transformation from kind and hilarious man into a savage fighting Uruk-hai captain! The role required him to be glued into a full facial prosthetic, including heavy wig and a foam cowl that shrouded his entire head and tucked into the leather and fibreglass armour worn by the Uruks. This sat over chainmail and foam arms and legs. The final touches were lynx-eyed contact lenses and sharpened dentures, with the entire transition taking hours to complete, and that was just for starters.
During the days in which Lawrence shot Lurtz’s introductory scenes, when the character would appear in just a loin cloth, the actor had to undergo a much more ambitious make-up application involving being glued almost head to toe into a full body prosthetic. The process took most of the night, and Lawrence sometime dozed in the chair as the prosthetics make-up team, lead by Gino Acevedo, whom Lawrence had mistaken me for in that dark corridor, painstakingly stuck on each element of his man to monster transformation.
The result was worth it, of course, and what stepped out of the trailer in the bright light of day was a somewhat sleep-deprived but undeniably magnificent contrivance of the Wizard Saruman: a fighting Uruk-hai, sword in hand, ready to, ‘Find the Halflings!’
This is a collectible I have always wanted to do! Lurtz is, in fact, my favourite character that we’ve ever created in our career.
At Amon Hen the Uruks fall upon the Fellowship, finding them scattered amid the ruins and woods. Lurtz spies Merry and Pippin and sends his warriors after them, but meets unexpected resistance when Boromir, warrior of Gondor, comes running to the hobbits’ aid. Resolute before overwhelming odds, Boromir slays many Uruk-hai, but wily Lurtz knows better than to come within range of the swordsman’s blade, preferring instead to stand off and skewer him with thick-hafted arrows.
Weta Workshop is proud to welcome Lurtz at Amon Hen to its high-quality 1:6 scale Middle-earth line; a line that has been designed by the very same artists and technicians who work on our movies.
It takes 400-500 hours to design, sculpt, model make, mold, and paint the prototype for each new piece. Whether it be a prop replica, beautiful environment or iconic character, we treat our collectibles with the same level of care and attention to detail that we bring to our film work.
Please note: images are of a pre-production prototype. Each statue is painted by hand and slight variations will occur.