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King Kong, ET and the Alien on display at Carlo Rambaldi exhibition

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King Kong, ET and the Alien on display at Carlo Rambaldi exhibition
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AP
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ET, the Alien and King Kong are on display at an exhibition in Rome celebrating the man who created them.

Special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi was awarded Oscars for all three mechatronic creatures.

The Italian artist learned how to make his first mechanised dummies at his father's bicycle repair shop in a small village near Ferrara, in northern Italy.

His interest in mechanics increased after he studied at the art academy in Bologna, where he learned about musculature and the skeletal structure of the human body.

Rambaldi soon found himself the directors' choice in both Hollywood and on film sets at home in Italy. Steven Spielberg called Rambaldi when he was unhappy with the sketches and prototypes he had received for ET, and wanted a more innocent and human-like character, which Rambaldi was known for.

Rambaldi's son Victor recalls his father's process of character creation, saying: "We had a cat, a Himalayan female cat. It was similar to a Persian cat, with an angel face, blue eyes, white hair. [My father] saw her walking around our house and he said, here is the quintessence of innocence. The face of ET was created by copying the face of a cat."

The curator of the exhibition, Claudio Libero Pisano, says Rambaldi's imagination was fired by what he saw in his father's workshop.

"If you take a minute to look at what is inside his machines, his creatures, you will understand that this initial experience of his life, assisting and helping his father, was how everything started. Inside each of his creatures, there is always something that brings us back to a bicycle."

The Mechanics of Monsters: from Carlo Rambaldi to Makinarium will be on display at Rome's Palazzo delle Esposizioni until 6 January.

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