Ontario-native Gordon Smith is one of Canada’s unsung heroes in the film industry. His special effects and make-up design has shaped some of the finest movies of the last 30 years, including David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, Oliver Stone’s JFK and Platoon (as well as Nixon, Born on the Fourth of July, and Natural Born Killers), Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark, and Bryan Singer’s X-Men and X2, where he brought characters such as Mystique, Toad, and Wolverine to life.
Smith, who began his career as an actor before making the leap behind the camera, retired from the business and sold his Toronto-based studio a few years ago. In the process he donated everything in his collection to the TIFF Bell Lightbox. When Sylvia Frank, TIFF’s Director of The Film Reference Library and Special Collections, realized most people had no clue who Smith was or what he had contributed to the film world, she smartly decided to celebrate him by way of his most popular work in the X-Men films. The result is X-Men Master: Gordon Smith, a free exhibit featuring his work on Singer’s comic book movies, including a full body replica of Mystique and Wolverine’s metal claws (pictured below).
Criticize This! spoke with Smith at the media preview for the exhibit, which runs until March, 2013. Watch our interview below.
Additional photos from the X-Men Master: Gordon Smith exhibit are below. For more information, visit tiff.net/x-men.
Top image: Mystique’s skin at the X-Men Master: Gordon Smith exhibit.