Art Asylum 'Inmates' Talk Trek X FiguresBy Caillan
August 14, 2002 - 11:37 AM
The self-styled 'inmates' of toy manufacturer Art Asylum are brimming with excitement about their 'Star Trek: Nemesis' action figure range, and they hope fans will share their enthusiasm.
"We're hoping the Trekkies respond to us," Vice-President of Business Development Adam Unger told Andrew Kardon in ToyFare magazine. "At first they were like, 'Oh god, Art Asylum. They're gonna do Patrick Stewart with gigantic muscles and five heads.' They think we're the crazy company that can't feed the needs of the real classic collectors."
With the company's reputation for producing somewhat unorthodox figures, including an Eminem line, scoring the Star Trek contract was a "pretty big coup," Unger said. Although there was some initial hesitation, the film's cast and crew have embraced Art Asylum's vision for the 'Nemesis' range. "They've seen stuff and the actors have been talking. So hopefully we can help close the gap a little bit, to where we're all kind of involved in the creative process together. We've gotten ourselves involved with the actual creators and designers. They’ve seen our work, and they're starting to understand that we take our work just as seriously as they do."
The first line of 'Nemesis' figures, featuring Captain Picard, his clone and principal villain Shinzon (see image to the left), Lt. Commander Data, and the Reman Viceroy, are currently scheduled for release in October. Although this may seem like a small range for a major franchise film, Unger said further figures will follow if the first line is well-received.
"We've got four other figures that are pretty much almost developed and will be ready to roll should this movie kick some ass and should the demand and trade want more," he said. Art Asylum did confirm there would be more figures released to coincide with the debut of 'Nemesis' on DVD, with Worf, B-9, a Romulan Warrior and a Reman Henchman some of the possibilities for future releases. "If things go along and the line takes off, everyone's excited and we build a fan base back again, then we're just gonna ramp up and go after it."
The Art Asylum team even had the chance to visit the 'Nemesis' sets to scan members of the cast to ensure maximum authenticity in their figures (see below photo). Star Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) made a definite impression on the designers.
"I can't even images someone more serious than him," Unger recalled. "He was so intense that we didn't even know when to laugh. Plus, we're all kind of nervous in there. There is something so different about Captain Picard versus somebody else. Even [Art Asylum President] Digger was sort of at a loss for words. [...] We scan him and he was so perfectly still it was the best scan that they'd ever gotten from any other actor. The guys [from design company Gentle Giant] said this is really an impossible thing to do. The only one that's been able to do it as close to as good as Patrick Steward was Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Gentle Giant guys go, 'Really Mr. Stewart. You're the best.' And Patrick goes, 'Well if Arnold has a problem with that, you can have him call me.' And then we finally broke up and laughed. You could have cut the intensity in the room with a knife when we first walked in."
With an Original Series line planned for 2003, and Deep Space Nine and Voyager figures set to follow that, expect to see the Art Asylum logo on Trek figures for a long time to come. "We're all Trek fans, so the research and development on this is second nature to us," said Senior Art Director Manuel Jesus. "Sometimes other properties required having degrees of homework. With Star Trek, we have a fanboy's wishlist of things we want to do. So far we're on page one, paragraph two. [...] We've worked hard to take the realm of Star Trek action figures to a new level. We've struggled for years looking at Star Trek products that were good, but could have been great. Now it's our chance, and we aim to please."
The complete six-page feature article, which also includes reactions to the 'Nemesis' sets and memories of scanning Ron Perlman (Reman Viceroy) and Tom Hardy (Shinzon), can be found in the October issue of ToyFare. Please note that the magazine does contain some language that readers may find offensive.
Visit the Art Asylum web site for more information on their Trek figures. Thanks to Jeff Driscoll for sending this in!