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Designing Dave
MEET DAVE production designer Clay A. Griffith faced a unique challenge: design a ship's interior that had to structurally resemble the inner workings of the human body. Griffith has been inspired by such buildings as Eero Saarinen's futuristic-looking TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. "It looks very skull-like and has no right angles in it,” Griffith explains. "It is compound curves that meld into other ones. I thought that was a good place to start because the human body doesn't have a lot of right angles.”

Griffith also studied the work of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who designed the Milwaukee Art Museum. "It looks like a living thing,” he says. "It's very organic. We created the spinal column as an elevator shaft to go from different levels of the spaceship. You get off at any floor and are at a certain rib cage.”

The ship's bridge, which is inside Dave's head, was built on a Los Angeles soundstage. The bridge set measured 30-feet high, 30-feet wide, and 30-feet long. Griffith patterned the ship's corridors after human-like vascular tubing, using vein and artery-hued blues and reds.

Oscar®-winning visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson ("Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”) helped create some of the film's big set pieces, one of which sees the micro-sized Captain and #3 (remember, they're about one and three-quarters inches tall) on the loose in the streets of New York. They must navigate the strange, foreboding – and to them, jumbo-sized – world known as Times Square. (When a dog relieves itself against a fire hydrant, the Captain and #3 must flee from the tsunami-like effects.)

For these visual effects-intensive scenes, Eddie Murphy, again, rose to the occasion. His director, Brian Robbins, wasn't surprised. "Well Eddie is amazing,” marvels Robbins. "I mean, he can act to anything – even a C-stand and tennis ball [which, on-set, stand in for visual effects to be added later]. He doesn't need much to play off of. You just say, ‘Action,' and he's there.”


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