Rob Bottin

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Rob Bottin
Born (1959-04-01) April 1, 1959 (age 61)
El Monte, California, United States
OccupationSpecial make-up effects creator
Years active1976-2014
Height6 ft 5 in (196 cm)

Robin R. Bottin[1] (born April 1, 1959) is an American special make-up effects creator. Known for his collaborations with directors John Carpenter, Paul Verhoeven and David Fincher, Bottin worked with Carpenter on both The Fog and The Thing, with Verhoeven on RoboCop, Total Recall and Basic Instinct, and with Fincher on Se7en and Fight Club. His other film credits include Legend, Innerspace and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Well respected in his field of prosthetic makeup (better known as special make-up effects), and described in 2013 as a "special effects genius",[2] Bottin was nominated for an Oscar in 1987 for Best Makeup, and was awarded a Special Achievement Award at the 1991 Academy Awards. He has two BAFTA nominations, and won two Saturn Awards with five further nominations.[3]

Early life[edit]

Bottin was born in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte, California. His father was a foreman for a van and storage company.[4]


From an early age Bottin enjoyed a steady stream of old horror films, as well as magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland. At age 14, he submitted a series of illustrations to well-known special make-up effects artist Rick Baker, who promptly hired him. He worked with Baker on various films but his first big solo break was The Howling, where he was called to create an on screen transformation from man to werewolf. This managed to reach the theatres before his mentor's similar scene in An American Werewolf in London. He also worked on the Star Wars Cantina scene creatures.[5] He was, in fact, the tallest player in the Cantina band.

After begging cinematographer Dean Cundey to introduce him to director John Carpenter, Bottin was hired by Carpenter to create the special makeup effects for his 1980 film The Fog.[6]

Additionally, Bottin provided the physical makeup effects and had a small part in the film as Captain Blake. From there, Bottin's reputation grew when he again worked with Carpenter on The Thing. Bottin worked on The Thing seven days a week (including late nights) for a year and five weeks straight, producing every creature effect (with the exception of the transformed dog, which was partially done by Stan Winston).[citation needed] According to the making of documentary on the DVD, the then 22 year-old’s schedule was so punishing, and his attention to detail so precise, that after filming finished, he was hospitalised with exhaustion, pneumonia, and a bleeding ulcer.

Although his work was at first criticized for being too gruesome or distracting from the film's psychological themes, it has since been credited for actually enhancing the feel of the film.[citation needed] In one scene in which a character's head stretches off, Bottin decided to melt plastic. Little did he know that the melted plastic released explosive paint thinner so when the director decided to put flame under the camera lens the entire prosthetic exploded.[6]

He later worked on the special make-up effects in Ridley Scott's Legend, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Makeup, and Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop and Total Recall, the latter of which earned him a Special Achievement Academy Award.



  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At
  2. ^ Debreceni, Todd (2013). Special Makeup Effects for Stage and Screen: Making and Applying Prosthetics. Taylor & Francis. p. 37. ISBN 1136060774.
  3. ^ "IMDB Awards - Rob Bottin". IMDB. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Rob Bottin Biography (1959?-)
  5. ^ The Morphing Artist: From Stop-Motion to CGI VFX HQ, May 1997.
  6. ^ a b "The Thing Takes Shape", excerpts from the interview with Rob Bottin

External links[edit]