I have had the great opportunity to work with JJ Abrams in the past on Star Trek and Cloverfield. But this film was going to be more demanding than the other two combined. There were a few reasons. One of which was the fact that, even though this was JJ’s baby, Steven Spielberg was going to be involved and reviewing the creature design.
The other reason was that, as I find out upon sitting down with the two of them for my briefing, the creature needed to be the next “ET”, it needs to be classic and iconic and... Well, you can imagine how I felt hearing that from the two of THEM! Not to mention that the demands of it’s design within the script were a challenge. This, I knew, was going to be a tough nut to crack..
Steven Spielberg was going to be involved and reviewing the creature design...
We collectively searched for just under a year to arrive at what you see here. But, to get there, I experimented with some new approaches to “find” the design. I went with the “ink blot” approach initially, then simple silhouettes. Eventually, I decided to go with the “form follows function” approach by conceiving the creatures utility first. This, in fact, gave rise to the aesthetic of the overall character. It turns out that what I learned as an industrial designer applies quite well to creature design.