‘Daybreakers’: Shedding light on the subsiders

Jan. 14, 2010 | 7:47 p.m.

SCENE STEALER

Patrick Kevin Day talked to Steven Boyle, the creature effects man behind “Daybreakers’” hordes of vampires, about the inspiration for the mutated Subsiders’ appearance. You can read his previous Scene Stealer interviews and Liesl Bradner’s Wizards of Hollywood series right here.

Daybreakers1

An Australian billboard showing the physical deterioration of a pretty young woman over two years of drug abuse inspired “Daybreakers” creature designer Steven Boyle to give the film’s badly mutated “Subsiders” vampires similar characteristics. “When people see the Subsiders, I wanted them to feel pity and disgust before they felt fear,” Boyle said. While some of the vampires got away with minimal makeup, performer Bryan Probets had to wear a full-body foam latex suit. Everything was covered except for the inside of his ears and the soles of his feet. But perhaps the most disgusting effect wasn’t the look, but the smell. “The foam latex has a faint sulfur smell,” Boyle said. “And the glues are alcohol-based. So, by the end of the day, it’s a lovely human stew of sulfur, sweat, talcum powder and KY jelly.” Star Ethan Hawke may have been acting disgusted in his on-screen encounter with the sewer-dwelling Subsider, but we think he had a lot of real-world experience to draw on.

–Patrick Kevin Day

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Photo: Ben Rothstein / Associated Press

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