Automaton Advisor to ‘HUGO’

Michael Start of ‘The House of Automata’ was Automata & Horological advisor on Scorsese’s film ‘Hugo’.   A major part of the work involved pre production work with the art department designing the mechanism of the automaton to be authentic for the period and the tasks that it had to perform. Using knowledge of the Jaquet Droz and Maillardet automata the Hugo automaton was given more than enough mechanical veracity to perform perfectly.

Another important task was to rehearse with the actors the techniques of restoring automata and fine clockwork.

Look out for Asa polishing the automatons ribs with strips of linen cloth & expertly steadying his screwdriver with his fingertip. In the clock shop scene Jude Law competently manipulates the planets on Raingo’s Orrery. And in Ben Kinglseys eureka moment he deftly clicks the Geneva wheel into place in his new camera. Each actor a horological wizard!

Authenticity was paramount to Scorsese and every workshop was fully functioning and filled with all the correct tools & parts from treadle lathes down to the correct kind of metal dust on the workbench’s.

Click HERE for a link to a recent STV news feature on our work with Hugo.

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