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BABY PANDA BEAR - Animatronic Costumes.

Panda Bear


Three- 36" tall Panda suits, one hero suit, one stunt suit, and one black suit.


Four way stretch fur, foam, plastic, glass eyes, and animatronics.


Eyes, eye lights, blink, brows, ears, mouth, lips, and extend snout.





Our Baby Panda Bear was created to fight to the death with Ben Stiller for TROPIC THUNDER. To make a funny idea even funnier, we suggested making him a baby Panda Bear. To be able to make a Panda suit small enough to be a bay Panda, we brought in Gabriel Pimentel, an amazing suit performer who is 35 inches tall. Gabriel had worked with us plenty in the past, as the ESPN Answers, as aliens, and in various product costumes. Because their fight needed to be very realistic and dramatic, but not reveal what Ben was fighting with until it was over, we also made an animatronic Panda suit that was identical except for being covered entirely in black fur, so as they fought in the shadows, you wouldn't be able to quite tell what was going on. At first, the black suit is fleetingly seen behind trees and you can't make out what it is. We also made a special stunt version of the panda suit, without any animatronics in the head for the more intense wrestling scenes.


When it came time to attack, Gabriel really rose to the occasion -as he always does for us. Gabe didn't hold back, and gave Ben a real run for his money, very fiercely attacking and wrestling with Ben. It looks like Ben is in real trouble at first, but he makes a comeback and heroically stabs his mysterious attacker repeatedly.

Then a flash of lightning illuminates the whole scene, revealing this ferocious beast that has attacked him so viciously to be....... a cute little panda bear. But a panda bear full of bloody holes -a dead panda.


We included a few extra features in the Baby Panda suits based on the script. We made the eyes capable of being back lit, for the classic glowing eyes in the dark effect. We also rigged the Panda bear's jaw to be able to stretch out and enlarge dramatically, in an homage to Rick Baker and Rob Bottin's werewolf transformation effects. Ben Stiller was very enthusiastic when I explained these extra features we added to the animatronics, it turned out that he is a big fan of Rick and Rob's werewolf transformations.


A very strange thing happened while I was explaining the features of our animatronic suit to Ben. When Ben came over, he was followed by a friend in army fatigues who he introduced to me as Robert. Robert didn't say a word and very strangely avoided looking at me, as he reached out and shook my hand. He quickly looked away, over at Gabriel in our Panda suit creation. Robert went immediately over to Gabe in the suit and knelt down to get a better look. As I was explaining all the Panda animatronics to Ben, I could see this Robert guy, quietly but very intently crouching down and grabbing the Panda snout, squeezing it, looking up into the mouth, checking out the eyes, and silently giving it a very intense up close and personal. literally hands on examination. You have to understand, this was very distracting while I was making sure to recall all the of things I needed to tell Ben about this Panda we created for him. Despite Ben's friend Robert's very strange behavior, somehow I managed to get through it all successfully. It wasn't until much later when I saw the movie that I figured out who Ben's eccentric friend Robert was- he was Robert Downey Jr, in his blackface makeup. And congratulations to the makeup team- he was completely unrecognizable.


After my encounter with Robert on the set, one of my friends told me I should go over and have a look at this great office set nearby, and that I should also look for Tom Cruise on the set too. Naturally, I was curious, so I went over to the set. It was between takes, and there was no Tom Cruise to be seen. There were just a few prop guys and lighting crew wandering around, and an actor with his sleeves rolled up exposing the hairiest arms I have ever seen (next to our Panda bear suit that is). I figured Tom Cruise must have gone back to his trailer between takes. Again, it wasn't until I saw the movie that I realized that I had actually seen Tom Cruise after all. He was the hairy-armed actor, with a complete facial makeup transformation into his gross Grossman character. Wow. Boy was I fooled. Twice. It just goes to show, you never can be sure of what you're looking at on a movie set. But I have no shame in being fooled by these particular makeups. Both Robert and Tom had both been made up by the very best in the makeup effects business- Rick Baker, Barney Burman and their crews.

Additional versions of Panda Bear- We also created the decapitated Panda bear head and pelt that Ben wears after he kills the panda bear, when he goes deep into the jungle, and even deeper into his demented character. While we created the Panda suit, we were also asked to create some extra critters- some silicone Leeches they have to peel off their bodies after wading through the river, and some tiny Mosquitos for a scene where Nick Nolte grabs them out of the air with chopsticks like a ninja and then swallows them. I carefully warned them that under no circumstances should these Mosquitos be swallowed, that we had to use very fine steel wire to create the Mosquitos' legs and proboscis. Of course when they shot the scene and passed on my warning to Nick Nolte, Nick just cheerfully swallowed all of the Mosquitos, and assured them with a big smile it was no trouble. I was worried about Nick for a long time after that, imagining our mosquito wires hooked into his gut somewhere, rusting and putrefying inside him. Fortunately, quite a few years have passed and Nick is still with us, so I guess I can rest my worries.

PANDA BEAR - Credits

'TROPIC THUNDER.' Ben Stiller, director.

'DACIA Sandero Streetway' commercial.


Anatomorphex, Anatomorphex Special FX, Anatomorphex Special Effects, Tangible Special Effects, Over 30 years of Hollywood Special Effects work in Movies, Exhibitions, Theme Attractions, Television, Music Videos, Concerts & Fine Art. Our services range from Animatronic People and Characters, Animals and Aliens; Makeup Effects; Stunt and Hero Props, Costumes; Miniatures and Sets for Movies, Commercials, Music Videos, Television Shows, Architectural Applications, Fine Art Fabrications. Special Effects Hollywood, Special Effects, Special FX. Los Angeles Special Effects, LA Special Effects, LA Special FX, LA Special Effects, Special Effects Makeup, Special Effects Costumes, Special Effects Animals, Special Effects Aquatic Life, Special Effects Monsters, Special Effects Creatures, Special Effects Characters, Special Effects Props and Sets, Special Effects for Films, Special Effects for Commercials. Southern California Special Effects, North Hollywood Special Effects, Robert DeVine

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