Early I Am Legend Makeup Tests Reveal Ridley Scott’s Canceled Monster Plans

Ridley Scott’s version of I Am Legend was in development in the late 1990s, but it sadly never happened. However, legendary makeup artist Alec Gillis has shared some makeup tests that preview what we would have seen had the movie made it to the big screen and it’s super creepy. After the studio abandoned Scott’s version, the project wasn’t revisited again until Francis Lawrence put out his take in 2007, which starred Will Smith and a whole bunch of CGI creatures.

In addition to sharing the makeup test pictures, Alec Gillis gave some backstory to the project and why it never ended up happening. Gillis also shed some light on some of the Ridley Scott influences for the look and feel for his vision of I Am Legend. Though the movie has been made more than once over the years, Scott’s take on Richard Matheson’s source material looks like it would have been very special and unique. Gillis explains.

“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. 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 Steve Koch and applied by Tom Woodruff Jr., myself, and Barry Koper.”

According to Alec Gillis, a lot of hard work was put into the development of Ridley Scott’s I Am Legend, only for it to go unused and until now, unseen. These pictures are a special look at what could have been and horror fans will more than likely be pretty pumped on the images that Gillis shared. The makeup artist went on to explain why the movie never happened. He had this to say.

“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. Contributing sculptors were Schell Sculpture Studio and Jeff Boccaccio. Tech work helmed by H2Originals. Paint by Mike Larrabee.”

Richard Matheson’s science fiction horror novel I Am Legend came out in 1954 and changed the game. The book was a huge success upon its release and spawned the adaptions, The Last Man on Earth in 1964, The Omega Man in 1971, and I Am Legend in 2007. The novel was also a big inspiration behind 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. However, the world wasn’t able to see what an adaptation by Ridley Scott would have really been like.

2007’s I Am Legend was a success, which led to the development of a sequel. However, that never ended up happening either, which some horror fans believe is a good thing and director Francis Lawrence would agree. With that being said, it might be time to see Ridley Scott’s take on the novel come into development again. Maybe these images will spark some interest. You can check out the makeup tests for Scott’s I Am Legend below, thanks to Alec Gillis’ Instagram account.

Related: I Am Legend Hits DVD Shelves on March 18th!