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July 18, 1999|STEVE HOCHMAN

STAN WINSTON / MAKEUP ARTIST

Creating mega-reptiles ("Jurassic Park") and scary monsters ("Aliens") has earned creature-master and makeup artist Stan Winston four Oscars. Winston, 53, worked more with minutiae for the namesake devices of "Inspector Gadget"--though he's got more scary stuff in the recently released "Lake Placid" and the upcoming "End of Days.' He's also inaugurating his own production company.

SKIN DEEP: "Usually our meticulous mechanical work is concealed under skin or other exteriors. But since the mechanical aspects are so much part of the Inspector Gadget and Claw characters, we get to give you a peek under the skin."

HUMAN TOUCH: "People may think of large effects, like the dinosaurs. But really our [workshop's] history is being part of creating wonderful characters. That's what I feel Inspector Gadget will be, another memorable character brought to life with a terrific performance by Matthew Broderick."

SLEEP TIGHT: "Around November you'll see 'End of Days' with Arnold [Schwarzenegger]. We created a pretty amazing character--I don't want to give it away, but it's beyond anything you've seen. It is your worst nightmare. I can't wait."

LIVIN' LARGE: "When I read the 'Austin Powers' script I begged Mike Myers to let us be the team that created the look of Fat Bastard. It read so hilariously disgusting, and he is among the grossest characters we've done--and considering some of the scary things we've done, that's a huge statement."

KERMIT LIVES!: "Just because we can do these characters with great finesse . . . does not in any way negate, for example, the Muppets. They're sock puppets! And you still love them. Why? Because they're wonderful characters."

BAD APPLES: "Audiences end up seeing a bad film loaded with effects or creatures and going, 'I'm so sick of effects and creatures.' It's not about that. It's a bad movie. Go see 'Terminator 2' or 'Aliens.' 'ET' and 'Jaws' had creatures--wonderful movies, and not because of the creatures."

FEAT OF CLAY: "One movie I'm developing through Stan Winston Productions is a stop-motion, post-apocalyptic story, the brainchild of Eric Vogel, the creator of 'Celebrity Death Match.' We'll be creating the puppets and look."

NEW TOOLS: "Digital is not a threat. It's wonderful. We built a 30-foot crocodile for 'Lake Placid,' and it's this seamless blend between live-action animatronics and digital work done by Digital Domain, the company I founded with Jim Cameron and Scott Ross."

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