Monday, June 16, 2008

Stan Winston (1946-2008)

Special effects legend Stan Winston died yesterday of multiple myeloma. He won three Oscars for his work, which included The Thing, Aliens, Predator, Edward Scissorhands, all three Terminator movies, Jurassic Park, AI, and Iron Man, among many others.

Winston was interviewed by Hugo Perez at SciFi.com when AI was released in 2001. He talked about his work, and his views on science fiction and science:

Can you talk about how you see aspects of certain films you've worked on, i.e., Terminator, Jurassic Park, A.I., becoming the truth of tomorrow?

Winston: [. . .] Someone has now with their imagination said, "Boy, wouldn't it be cool if you could take the DNA of something as historic as the dinosaur and bring it to life based on DNA that has been fossilized over years?" Well, guess what? Something like that is going to happen. Why is it going to happen? Because Michael Crichton imagined that it could happen, and there is a science that is at the base of that imagination. And now with the combination of science and this man's imagination, there are going to be some human beings out there that will crack this problem, and using DNA are going to create life. It's happening now. It's science and the imagination that fuels the creative mind of mankind, and there is nothing that will stop it from happening until mankind doesn't exist anymore, and I don't see that happening anytime in the near future. As long as we exist, we will continue to create, and we will create a reality that we have imagined.

His enthusiasm about the boundlessness of human creativity and its effect on science sounds strangely optimistic coming from someone who has worked on movies in which the hubris of scientists wreaks havoc (for example, Jurassic Park and Terminator) or man's insatiable need to travel between the stars brings us into contact with monsterous aliens.

RIP Stan Winston.

(via Ain't It Cool News, which has some cool photos)
Image: The Thermians in Galaxy Quest
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