“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso may not have been predicting the notable work of Bruce Larsen when he uttered these words, but they certainly ring true for the Fairhope-based sculptor. Stale desk jobs and mind-numbing business meetings were never in the cards for Larsen, who says he always wants to be excited about new ideas and plans to “never grow up.” Larsen spoke with MB about his life as a custom sculptor/mold maker and extensive experience in the film industry, turning sci-fi monsters, gory scenes and the like into cinematic reality.
I use custom sculpting as a fine art and in the movie industry. The skills I use in one lend themselves perfectly to the other. Anything from clay to found objects are potential material for a project.
My connection to the world is mostly through art. My outdoor sculptures can be found on the grounds of the United States Sports Academy, the University of South Alabama and art museums of Mobile and Huntsville. Some smaller works are in collections owned by the Crown Prince of Bahrain, the Prince of Malaysia, Alabama football coach Nick Saban, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and radio personality and attorney Robert Kennedy Jr.
I have traveled to several countries to work, including Kazakhstan in 2003, where I spent three months working on the movie “Nomad: The Warrior.” In 1996, I had a fine arts show in Pietrasanta, a town on the northern coast of Tuscany in Italy. As I get older, I look forward to traveling more with my lovely wife, Joy.
I’ve been working in the film industry since the late ’80s. I began in animation after graduating from college in 1987. Since then, I’ve been doing a little of everything. The first film I would admit to working on was “Basket Case 3” (1992, helmed by B-movie horror director Frank Henenlotter). It was a silly experience. Now, I try to stay within the realm of things that interest me. Life is short.
My first inspiration was the space race. Innocent fantasy shows like “Lost in Space, ” “Batman, ” “The Munsters” and “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” were a welcomed distraction to the Vietnam War. Star Wars came out when I was in high school, and after I saw Alien, it was all over. I was hooked. I haven’t built as many of the creatures and monsters that I’ve imagined in my mind, but I hope I have the opportunity.
Some of the most notable films I’ve worked on include “The Patriot, ” (2000, starring Mel Gibson), “Planet of the Apes, ” (2001, directed by Tim Burton) and “Lincoln” (2012, Stephen Spielberg, starring Daniel Day Lewis). Other movies I’ve worked on that are soon to be released include “Oculus” (Karen Gilan), “Devil’s Knot” (Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth), “Prisoners” (Hugh Jackmon), “Relentless Justice, ” “Solace” (Anthony Hopkins, Colin Firth), “Deadliest Prey, ” “Hayride 2, ” and “Tokarev” (Nicolas Cage). I’ve done countless commercials. Currently, I’m in Atlanta working with my friend Bill Johnson on “The Originals, ” a spin-off of “The Vampire Diaries, ” and a new TV show called “Resurrection” (ABC, premiering May 14).
As for now, I’m having fun promoting this area for the film industry. There is a lot of talent here, and Southern film crews are laid-back and easy to work with. When crews from other countries come here, they fall in love with it.
Text by Joshua D. Givens