Ridley Scott’s Unmade ‘I Am Legend’ Vampires Unearthed!

by | Feb 21, 2019

I am Legend has had a rich cinematic history and it’s fascinating to think that Ridley Scott almost tackled his own version, back in 1997.The film is defiantly one of the greatest unmade sci-fiction/horror films and a recent look at some makeup tests has brought the film back into the lime light. 

Richard Matheson’s 1954 story is one of the great vampires novels out there, and influenced Stephen King, George Romero and even the Fallout video games series. But it’s biggest testament, is the number of film adaptions that have been made over the years. 

 The book tells the story of Robert Neville, the lone survivor of a vampire plague that has wiped out humanity. The book deals with deep emotional tones as Neville suffers from crushing loneliness and loss, as we learn about his tragic past. Filled with twists and turns, the books original ending is a real shocker and is a must read for any horror fan.

Matheson himself wrote the screenplay for the 1964 adaption called ‘The Last Man on Earth’, starring Vincent Price starred as Dr. Robert Morgan (rather than “Neville”). Matheson was dissapointed with the final product and adopted a pseudonym. In 1971, a vastly different version hit cinemas, called ‘The Omega Man’. It stars Charlton Heston (as Robert Neville) and swapped vampires for albino mutants, but the premise of the novel remains. In 2007, a third adaptation of the novel was produced, titled I Am Legend and stars Will Smith, but yet again, the vampires are swapped out for zombie like creatures. 

Ridley Scott’s 1997 adaption was to star Arnold Schwarzenegger and the plan was to show off Schwarzenegger range as an actor, as the film concentrated on Neville’s overwhelming loneliness. The vampires, called Hemocytes, were designed by effects company Studio ADI. They would be portrayed as half starved, skinny creatures that have taken to wrapping themselves in rubbish, paper and plastic, to shield themselves from the sun.

special makeup effects artist Alec Gillis took to Instagram yesterday to show off photos of the the vampire tests, and they are quite striking.


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Ridley Scott’s version of I AM LEGEND was to have starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and featured ‘hemocytes’ realized as makeup characters. I think we did our design exploratory in about 1997 ( is that right @h2originals ?) Ridley was influenced by wax figures from the 17th century. We did a test on a single female subject to show her in a few stages of emaciation. The appliance pieces were sculpted by @ryankennethpeterson and Steve Koch and applied by @Tom_woodruffjr , myself and Barry Koper. Shortly after we shot the test at ADI Warner’s decided not to make the movie. The budget was coming in 10 mil higher than desired. It all got shelved until the Francis Lawrence/ Will Smith version years later. We did get an interview on that version but there was next to no interest in makeup fx. Contribbing sculptors were @schellsculpturestudio and Jeff Boccaccio. Tech work helmed by @h2originals. Paint by Mike Larrabee.

A post shared by alec_gillis (@alec_gillis) on


These are the same photos that appeared briefly in a 2012 and 2014 video that takes you through the process of the makeup creation.




Sadley, Scott’s vision became far to big for Warner Brothers and the film was cancelled, despite how far into production the film had gone. A sequel to Will Smiths turn as Robert Neville was being considered, but news grew quite and project has since been scrapped.

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