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Meet The Mogadorians
It was a long process to develop the look of the Mogadorians. The filmmakers researched many different options and looks for them, hoping to walk the line between normalcy and eccentricity. In the book, the Mogs, just like the Loriens, look exactly like humans, except for their extraordinary height.

"The Mogadorians are an interesting race because they're much larger than the Lorien race or the human race would be,” director D.J. Caruso explains. "They are all about seven feet tall, if not more. They have gigantic weapons and blasters, and they are used to getting whatever they want.

"The Mogadorians come in, they take over a planet and they don't ask any questions. They are like evil Western gunslingers that would come through towns, kill the men, destroy everything and take the women and the children. That's basically the Mogadorian way of life.”—D.J. Caruso, director

Caruso felt it would be more interesting if the Mogs were threatening, intimidating creatures—in addition to their height. He wanted them to appear humanoid, but cause a double take when people saw them. But it was important to the believability of the story that the Mogs could blend into American society. So for Costume Designer Marie- Sylvie Deveau, the most challenging costuming aspects of the film centered on the clothes for the Mogadorians. "We needed to find the right image as well as provide for the requirements of the action,” she says.

Deveau watched a movie from the '70s called "The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid.” "We loved the long duster coats they were wearing,” says Deveau. "We wanted something dark because most of the shots with them were at night, so it gave a subtle, menacing look.”

The costumes were extremely hot to wear, however, especially in the heat of Pittsburgh and the Florida Keys in summer. Deveau had to use an air-cooling system under the costumes and the actors had to rest in air-conditioned tents between takes. It was also a problem for the makeup: if the actors were not kept cool enough, it could literally slide off their faces.

Making the Mogadorians taller than the average human being was another challenge. In order to help give the Mogs their ominous presence, the actors wore custom Kangool boots that made them seven inches taller and gave them their odd, slow gait. The Kangools were covered with a leather faux boot to give them the appearance of normal boots.

"We spent a while trying to make them look tall without having to use stilts,” explains Deveau. "Finally the stunt coordinator found these spring boots, so we built a shoe onto them. It gave the actors about seven to eight inches extra. Given that Kevin Durand, who plays the Mog Commander, is already 6'4,” those added inches made him very imposing.”

Kevin Durand adds, "There is a hard plastic cylinder underneath. In addition to making the commander a lot taller, they also add this peculiar movement that makes him even more unique.”

During the process of defining the Mog look, Deveau brought in some research that was centered on wardrobe. Included was a photo she came across in a European magazine where the model had a tattoo in the shape of hair on his head. The idea took root that on a Mogadorian, the "hair” was actually a tattoo. The team also came up with the premise that as the soldiers rose up through the ranks of the military system in Mogadore, their tattoo became more elaborate. All the Mogs have the same basic tattoo as the base of their design and then, depending on their rank and skill level, their tattoos become more distinct.

With all the specialized makeup, it took about two hours a day to turn an actor into a Mog. The individualized tattoos and the prosthetic makeup for the Mog Commander and his henchmen were based on designs created at KNB Effects in L.A, run by Howard Berger and business partner Greg Nicotero.

"When we were hired to design the look of the Mogadorians, we needed to create an alien race that was fresh and interesting, but still could assimilate into the general population on Earth. It was a difficult challenge we were ready to face and in the end came up with character makeups that allowed the actors to perform beneath their prosthetics and tattoos and bring the Mogs to life on screen.” —Howard Berger, SPFX Makeup

In addition to acting the role, Kevin Durand also had to learn a new language—Mogadorian. "When I first looked at it, I was a little intimidated by it,” Durand recalls. "I was like, ‘Wow! This doesn't really sound like anything I've ever attempted to do before.' I love doing accents and I speak a couple of different languages, but this language was really out there, which only makes sense.”

The Mogadorian language was created specifically for the movie and was influenced by ancient Latin, Slavic languages and English. It has its own set of rules so that the director could create and change sentences on set while filming the movie. Videotapes cataloguing the phonetics of Moganese were sent to the actors in order for them to learn and practice the unique language.

"I have to say, I got really obsessive with learning it word-by-word and then perfecting the pronunciation,” says Durand. "It took me quite a while, but now I can say I am a fairly eloquent Mogadorian speaker.”

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