Crew Profiles: Bob Keen

Bob Keen was a trainee on EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Although he was only 18 he had worked for a year or so with a model making firm and had a basic understanding of simple mechanics. He knew enough to build mechanisms but not so much that his concepts were pre-concieved and that made him quite useful as we struggled to develop ideas in the dawn of animatronics. He worked with Stuart Freeborn on the mechanics for the "Close-up Tauntaun" and helped me construct the "standby Yoda" which was used extensively on that movie. After EMPIRE he went on to DARK CRYSTAL before becoming my main animatronics assistant..... first on HORROR PLANET (aka INSEMINIOD), then on a TV pilot with an animatronic bear suit THREE ON THE RUN. In early 81 he returned to STAR WARS to assisted Stuart Freeborn again on RETURN OF THE JEDI. He rejoined me for KRULL and assumed the job of keeping things going in the workshop while I was doing make-ups or was caught up on set.

Bob's real talent was in recognizing useful techniques, trends, procedures and technicians then applying them to the job in hand. As the years progressed he developed into a coordinator rather than an artist. After KRULL he moved with me onto THE KEEP and later went off to help my old friend Colin Arther with THE NEVER ENDING STORY. He joined me again for GRIZZLY II in Budapest and was an invaluable foil in the animatronic development process. He officially became my Workshop Supervisor in 1983 on LIFEFORCE when the complications of devising and Directing the MFX sequences demanded more and more of my time.

Our working relationship continued on the Duran Duran video WILDBOYS & ARENA music video album. Bob was my #2 on HIGHLANDER and took over as Head of Department when I became too sick to finish the movie in 85.

He went on to lead the MFX team on the Clive Barker movies....... HELLRAISER, HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II, HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH, and CANDYMAN as well as WARLOCK: THE ARMAGEDDON in 93. Perhaps seeing me Direct the MFX unit on LIFEFORCE had a lasting impact on him too because he has progressed to Direct three movies of his own........ SHEPHERD ON THE ROCK (1993), TO CATCH A YETI (1995) (TV), and PROTEUS (1995). (Good on you Bob!)

I guess now I should be asking him for a job!


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