Men in Black Worm Guy Puppet Restoration

Restoration of an original Men in Black Worm Guy puppet.

This Men in Black worm guy prop puppet was used in the original, 1997 film.  Since production of the film wrapped, time had taken a bit of a toll on the fragile foam latex alien.  One of his legs had become separated at the knee, he was missing his right arm and his head had become detached. He also had several areas were the foam latex skin had become brittle and cracked, which is fairly common for this type of prop. Unlike the worms in the movie, he wasn’t going to rebuild himself, so we set about our work conserving and restoring this bit of Rick Baker movie history (and part of the work that won Baker an Oscar award that year!).

Our first job was to reattach the separated pieces like his leg and head. We also had to sculpt him a new arm to replace the one that was missing. We did that in clay, molding and casting the new arm in a resin material that will hold up nicely over time. Once all of these pieces were in place we could begin the process of filling in the missing areas and blending the edges so that the repairs became virtually invisible.

When all of the areas of the body were patched and repaired, we began the painstaking  process of paint matching all of the areas of new material to the original foam latex. The genius of Rick Baker’s pieces is that they are so detailed and complex, so it is imperative to make a strong match to each of the patterns, colors and styles. This process can be very time consuming and challenging.

We also wanted to keep a bit of the attitude that makes the worm guys so iconic, so we chose to add a partially smoked cigarette to the arm that we sculpted. By adding the cigarette to the newly sculpted arm there was no additional stress put onto the original foam latex.  The puppet was made to sit on the edge of a counter with the other breakroom worm aliens, and our client would be displaying him on a small shelf on a wall.

Love the MIB movies?  Check out some of the other great Men In Black prop restoration and display projects we’ve worked on!

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