Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Miracles - Burned Body Concepts Twenty Plus Years Later

While at Pensacon last month, I had the chance to cross paths with an actor I worked with over twenty years ago. One of the first makeup effects projects I worked on in 2002 when I returned to LA was for a show called Miracles. It was short-lived, and I wonder how many people watched it or even remember it, but I do because I worked on it. And when I wanted up to Skeet Ulrich with my DVD set to sign, he remembered it too. When Skeet saw the DVDs, he laughed and said, "Oh man!" We had a little chat and parted ways. Getting the DVDs signed, of course, got me thinking about the work I did on the show, and in particular, the work done for the first episode. To start things off, here is that DVD set all signed and ready for the "shelf of things I worked on".

Miracles - Another project that I worked on and have never watched.

If I remember correctly, Skeet Ulrich played a young priest or similar religious figure that is having a crisis of faith as he investigates, you guessed it, MIRACLES. I have never watched a single episode, so I am going off what I remember from over twenty years ago. For the first episode, I was asked to design a burned body found on a flight. No other damage or casualties, just a lone woman's body that was very, very burned. There is a twist, but I will leave that for those who want to watch the series. My part in all this started with designing the body. Dear Wife got to pose for reference photos on this one. Here are the designs that I produced.

Burned Body Concepts
Digital - 2002

The body is only seen on an autopsy table (if I remember correctly), so the end product was mostly a prop rather than a makeup or prosthetic. But it is still fun to work on something where the constraints of a living human's body does not interfere with making an interesting visual. In addition to the body concepts, I also produced a series of concepts for a healing sequence that was removed during the concept phase of the process. Or maybe it wasn't. I don't really know. I know we didn't make anything practical for this effect, so if it was used, maybe it was digital. This is another reason for me to watch it. Here are the healing concepts that I produced.

Healing Concepts
Digital - 2002

I also was tasked with making some organs, namely a pair of lungs, which you can see in the following photos. These were made by manipulating foam, coating them with an excellent and highly toxic chemical, painting them, and finally sealing them with silicone. I sadly do not have any other photos of the lungs as I was not yet recording everything we did at the shop. But I do have two pictures we took on set, and that will have to suffice. The figure on the right is yours truly as I worked on the set, finalizing the appearance of the body before filming. An extra dressed as a medical examiner stands across from me.

On the set of the first episode of Miracles with the burned body.

As filming progressed, they eventually needed to film the medical examiner cutting on the body with a REAL bone saw. I am sure the extra was a great guy, but he didn't make the body, didn't know what it was made of, or how to work with it. So through a series of events, I found myself in costume on set being filmed cutting on the body for the close-up shots. It was a lot of fun, I got to use a bone saw, and the body was not damaged in the filming process. Again, I sadly have no photos of myself in costume on set or of me working on the body. Hopefully, some of those moments ended up in the episode. And this would be another good reason for me to watch the series. Here is another image of the medical examiner on set with the body, in all its blurry early 2000s digital camera goodness.

Again, on the set of the first episode of Miracles with the burned body.

I did other work for the series, but I am still on the fence if I want to share any of it. I am not sure those designs went anywhere except the circular file as the series ended abruptly. We did some excellent work on the show, but it was not documented well, at least by me, so I do not have any images to share. Maybe another day, I will share some other bits and pieces from Miracles.

That is all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog. See you back here on Friday! Until then...

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