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How Adam Savage Made an Amazingly Lifelike But Equally Creepy Replica of 2001's Starchild Baby

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The final scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, featuring a baby floating in space, still leave many people scratching their heads. But even if Adam Savage didn’t fully understand what Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke meant with the reveal, he knew he had to recreate the character for his personal prop collection. The results are equal parts impressively detailed, and unsettlingly creepy.

The original prop used to create those shots in 2001 still exists, and has been touring the world in exhibits for a few years now. This gave Savage several opportunities to photograph the puppet from countless angles, documenting all the dimensions and details. Eventually, he was able to provide sculptor Steve Neill with enough reference materials to create a near-perfect reproduction.

Neill produced a fiberglass casting of his sculpt, which was primed, sanded, and smoothed by Tested’s Kayte Sabicer. As for the final paint job? It turns out Benjamin Moore’s “fresh peach” paint was the perfect tint to recreate the Starchild’s skin tone. But the replica still wasn’t complete. Savage worked with Jeremy Williams to bring the puppet’s mesmerizing eyes to life. Powered by a servo and a giant battery, the eyes are programmed to make subtle, random movements, and will run for at least a month before needing recharging.


It’s an amazing replica, and another example of Savage’s impressive dedication to detail and accuracy when it comes to his recreations of famous movie props. But even knowing how it was built and what it can do, I would still be totally creeped out whenever I saw it quickly look from side to side out of the corner of my eye.