The Ewok Costume

Galleries - Exotica

Ewok Costume

Costume Design

Star Wars Episode III Opening

 

It all started with a discussion that there would only be one more Star Wars movie, and that if we were as big a fans as we claimed to be, we should dress up in costume for it.

 

Of course everyone started throwing around ideas, but I made the claim that I would make the most outrageous costume to ever be constructed for a movie opening: I would attend dressed as a giant Ewok.

 

In bare feet I stand 6' 4", so it is only natural that I defy expectations and try to go as something small. Of course I didn't want to be mistaken for a Wookie, like Chewbacca, and pointed out to everyone that I would have to make this costume in the proportions of a real Ewok. It would look short and fat with a  big head, like a baby.

 

It was a done deal. I'd have almost 2 years to work on it before the opening of Episode III, Revenge of the Sith!

 

Two weeks before the opening of the movie, I admitted to my friends that I couldn't make the costume. I didn't have the time. Work was way too time consuming with crazy deadlines, and it was really draining me. Universally I was despised. Hated. Openly mocked. But I didn't care. This was my daily life around my friends anyway.

 

Then, about a week before the opening, I called up Vince Marcello. I was like, 'Dude, you know how to sew, right?'. He did, and at the time was editing his movie Zombie Prom, where the editor's wife had a sewing machine available to use.

 

So vince and I cruised down to the garment district one day and bought the fur and fabric. I made crude drawings of how I thought it should all go together. He didn't care. It was essentially sewing together a furry sweat suit. He laughed in my face at the ease he could do this.

 

The next step was to make a head. Somehow I came up with the idea that I could just use a Postal Mail Express Delivery box for a head. Why not? I stopped trying to think of something better. The head was simple, because it was mostly covered by a dark cowl, with just the face poking out. The face itself only consisted of 3 parts: Fur, something to make nose/mouth, and eyes.

 

I swung over to a taxidermy place in Burbank, looking to buy giant glass eyes that would look real enough to stuff a dead animal with. Well guess what? To my surprise the largest eyes on a land mammal on Earth is a Tiger, and they MAY max out at 44mm on a good day.  I needed something dramatically larger to make myself look like a big midget, so headed over to Michael's Crafts.

 

Wandering around, I discovered clear plastic soap molds, for making circular shaped bars of soap. I grabbed a pair of those and ran over to get some sculpey modeling clay to make the nose and mouth.

 


 

 


 

At home, I pulled some animal eye photos off the net and using them as a base, designed exactly what I thought I wanted in photoshop. It was then simple to print them out on regular paper and deco-podge them into the backs of the soap molds, facing out, so they would have a nice shine to them when the light hit them.

 

I quickly sat down to sculpt the nose and mouth. I got everything finished and just had to bake them, and then realized that in the 3 years Norm and I had lived in the apartment, we never once tried to use the oven. Guess what didn't work?

 

There were only 2 days to go to the premier, and I didn't have a FACE. So I called Rick, who wasn't going to go with us to the movie and told him my dilemma. I secretly cruised back to burbank, with my soft sculpey laid out in my back seat, to meet Rick's oven. The danger here, was that Rick's place was the place everyone hung out. So I had to sneak in with everything, get it in the oven, and then as people would come over try to make an excuse as to why I wasn't home working.

 

Sneaking out with my finished, scalding hot, facial pieces, I drove home. Meanwhile, I get a call from my ex-girlfriend/girlfriend/arch-nemesis/like-an-ex-wife and she's like, 'Whhaaaat are you dooooiiiiing?' I'm like, 'Dude, I'm making a GIANT GODDAMN EWOK COSTUME for the Star Wars opening'. Then she's like, 'I WANT TO GO TOO, WHAT COSTUME SHOULD I MAKE?'.

 

I've now picked up a rented Darth Vader helmet for her, and am sitting in her bedroom in Pasadena as she is trying on every black and silver metallic thing she owns. We got her dressed up like a real SLUT and I thereby christened her 'Darth Vegas'. At least now I have a date.

 

I get the costume finished, and am afraid to try it on. It's all deco-podge and cardboard, and feels like it's got about 2 hours of life in it.

 

Our tickets for the movie are at 8pm, so the entire group decides to meet at NOON. We get to the Arclight theater. Grab lunch, chat. And NO ONE KNOWS I made this giant goddamn Ewok costume, which is sitting in my trunk. Of course, the Nemesis has not caught on to this fact and keeps saying things like, 'Why did we keep the costumes in the trunk?' and 'why isn't anyone else in costume?'. There was a look of fear in her eyes as I explained to her that no one intended on wearing costumes (but for some rubber masks people bought) and that it was a surprise that we were going to suddenly appear in costumes.

 

Eventually I let Kevin in on the secret, and handed him my camera to document the unveiling.

 

As I stepped from the parking garage, in the 90o heat, covered from head to toe in fur, I got exactly the reaction I had hoped for. Over the next 8 hours, the Nemesis and I became the featured photo opportunity.

 


 

 


 

To my generation, a Star Wars movie opening is like a visit to Disneyland. It is like going to Disneyland on Christmas Day and Santa Clause is real and Disney has bought the license on him and is making him hang out with you while you are there.

 

That is a Star Wars opening.

 

When I walked into the theater, having to wear my giant head because I was carrying popcorn, the entire place lit up and everyone started cheering. That was the moment I realized that I was never going to do anything better than this for the rest of my life.