2001 A Space Odyssey Ape Costume Conservation and Display

2001 A Space Odyssey

- Man-Ape Costume -


Our conservation, restoration and custom mannequin for a historic movie costume originally created by Stuart Freeborn for Kubrick's classic film.


We were honored to be entrusted this rare and valuable movie costume and would like to thank the Science Fiction Archives for entrusting us to conserve and display such an important piece of Hollywood's history!


The costume arrived at our NY studio in mixed condition.  The fabric and fur bodysuit had only minimal damage.  The foam latex of the hands had seen quite a bit of wear.  Production wear and age also took their toll on the existing foot from the original costume, while the other foot was missing entirely and would need to be recreated during our restoration.

A customized semi-poseable mannequin would be required to achieve the proper fit and "ape" pose, specifically chosen to emulate the look of the mime artists who played the man apes in the film's classic "Dawn of Man" sequence.


And though called "man apes" by production, this particular example is a female.  In fact, this costume was created with a function nursing mechanism, so that the actor within could give milk to a live chimp baby, adding yet another layer of realism to the groundbreaking work.




THE TOM SPINA DESIGNS

DIFFERENCE...


As is often the case, our primary goal was to preserve and support, while maintaining the look and feel of this original movie costume.


Discussions with the client led to intentionally subtle restoration work, with emphasis on conservation of existing material and only minimal rebuilding or touch up. 

The recreated foot echoes the original's aged look and every effort was made to ensure that the added element would not distract from the original costume.


The customized body form includes some basic flexibility, allowing the client to make small tweaks to the arm pose, should they desire.  The museum style laminate base also hints at the monoliths from the film.






Please visit the links in the top menu bar for more movie prop and costume restoration and display projects like this one!

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Click to see a video of this project!

custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape video
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape by Stuart Freeborn
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape
custom mannequin and restoration - 2001 Kubrick ape

2001: A Space Odyssey, movie prop ape costume head by Stuart Freeborn, prior to conservation

The movie prop costume's chest and neck, showing signs of age and wear, prior to our restoration

Movie costume gloves, worn by mime artists in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Clear signs of use and age

An original foot from the movie costume, exhibiting age and damage, in fragile condition prior to our work

Ape foot from 2001: A Space Odyssey during our restoration and repair work

One foot was missing entirely and we re-created that from scratch, matching the style & aged look of the original

The completed replica foot is on the left, aged and haired to match the original.  The base has a bit of a monolith feel

The hands, shown after our restoration work, make for a much improved display

The neck, also subtly restored and lightly touched up.  Additional steps were taken to preserve the material

THE COMPLETED APE COSTUME DISPLAY!

As part of our conservation of this 2001 original movie costume, we created a custom mannequin to properly support the costume and create a truly stunning display!