Fans of sci-fi and fantasy films should be familiar with the name Patrick Tatopoulos. 

The renowned Greek French production and creature designer is a frequent collaborator of directors Alex Proyas, Len Wiseman and Roland Emmerich, and has worked on vampires, werewolves, giant lizards, aliens, and superheroes. (Fun fact: Emmerich named Matthew Broderick’s scientist character in Godzilla after him.)

But there was one sandbox he never got to dip his toes into: a Disney movie. And that was why he jumped at the chance at working on Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, where Angelina Jolie reprises her role of the eponymous fairy, this time taking on a power hungry Queen Ingrith, played by Michelle Pfeiffer.

“It’s different from anything I’ve done before,” says Tatopoulos, 61, who studied at the Art Decoratif De Paris, the Art Applique’s De Paris, and the Beaux Art De Paris. “I’ve done tons of science-fiction and superhero films with characters like Batman and Superman and the like, but I’ve never designed a fairy tale.”

And it was fairy tales that inspired him to be a designer. “Coming off Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, it’s fantastic for me to express myself in this world that is so different,” he says. Here, the LA-based Tatopoulos tells over the phone about the challenges of creating a fairy tale universe.


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It's about time: After 30 years in the business, Patrick Tatopoulos got to work on his first Disney movie, 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil'. "I love the Disney cartoons," Tatopoulos tells 8 DAYS. "It's good to be part of the family."