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SCENE STEALER

From 'Transformers' babe to killing machine

It took a 20-person effects team to reveal the 'pretender' Decepticon inside Isabel Lucas' character.

July 02, 2009|Liesl Bradner

In "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," motorcycles, bulldozers and toasters transform into a menacing militia, but it's the robot with a more feminine side that stands out among the heavy metal soldiers. Alice, a "pretender" Decepticon, emerges in the form of a sexy coed who shares a near-fatal kiss with Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) via her titanium tongue. "We had to take a beautiful girl and turn her into a nasty killing machine in a short time," said Matthew Butler, visual effects supervisor at Digital Domain in Venice.

The transformation begins with her face eroding away, revealing the components inside. "We didn't want her to look like she had a skin disease," Butler said. So, a zipper-like effect was created.

No green screen or motion capture was used when shooting actress Isabel Lucas. But it took seven months for a team of 20 to create countless layers of effects, devised with complex equations and meticulous rendering with the software Houdini to create the six-second shot.

-- Liesl Bradner

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