By Michael Corvin
You may not know his name, but you have for sure seen his work.
That is unless you’ve never ever seen a movie that is. Richard Edlund is
the man you go to when a movie needs a monster, spaceship battles,
ghosts, underwater sub combat and so much more. Born in 1940 on
December 6th in Fargo North Dakota, Edlund discovered an interest in
Experimental film making. Enrolling himself in the School of Cinematic
Arts, he soon met filmmaker and special effects legend John Dykstra
who invited Richard to join his company after he saw a few short films
by Richard. His company, a new and upcoming project called Industrial
Light & Magic, you know the guys who did a little movie called Star Wars.
Edlund joined ILM as one of the main cameramen who shot all of the special effects scenes for Star
Wars and even got to share in on the Academy Award win for best visual effects in a motion picture for the
work on Star Wars. He was next tasked with filming the models for Battlestar Galactica for both the movie
pilot and TV series also handled by Industrial Light & Magic before returning to shoot The Empire Strikes
Back. On Empire, Edlund won another Oscar for his work on shooting scenes involving space battles, the
Imperial Walkers for their stop-motion and all miniatures shots and effects.
Richard Edlund would work again with director George Lucas on his Indiana Jones trilogy plus lending
his effects mastery talents to Steven Spielberg for Poltergeist to bring the ghostly creatures to life. Then in
1983 after working on Return of The Jedi, Richard opened his own special effects company called Boss
Films. It was within his own company that he really shined producing affects for films such as Fright Night,
Big Trouble in Little China, Masters of The Universe, The Monster Squad, The Hunt For Red October,
Alien 3, Batman Returns, Ghostbusters, Species and so much more.
Making the shift from 3-D models to CGI, Boss Films was one of the first companies to embrace the
new form of effects creation and take that to all-new levels with movies like Starship Troopers to create the
film's monster killer bugs and the female alien creature from Species in her CGI form. Eventually Boss
Film became the rival of ILM, out-competing them for work in Hollywood and even branched off into a
sideline company with Boss Game Studios producing games and even then even adding TV commercials
to their lineup of productions.
Richard and Boss Films were nominated for many awards such as for Alien 3, Die Hard, Poltergeist
and others and yet despite it all, Boss Films came to an end in the summer of 1997 saying it was having
difficulties competing in the independent effects world. Richard Edlund may not be a household name but
his work will live on in all that he has created over this work and the world was a better place for it.
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