Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Linnea Quigley/Kuato Case Reopened for Investigation


You may *ahem* recall me doing a few posts back in June concerning the much beloved Scream Queen, Linnea Quigley, doing some puppeteer work for the Kauto puppet in Paul Verhoeven's Sci-Fi Actioner, Total Recall. It all started when I was watching the "Imagining Total Recall" DVD featurette, and for a brief second I spotted (or at least I thought I spotted) one Linnea Quigley doing some puppeteer work on Mr. Lumpy Butt himself, Kuato. Here's that post as well as my photographic evidence below:

Linnea Quigly Total Recall

Looks just like her, right?! At least I thought so. Anyway, shortly after I did that post, I reached out to Miss Quigley via email and received an answer back that wasn't exactly definite, but it certainly didn't hurt my case (you can read more right here!). In any event, I considered this Quigley/Kuato mystery to be solved, that is, until about a month later when I received a very interesting email from someone who does seem to have a definitive answer in this matter.

Here's the email:

"In my opinion Linnea did not puppeteer Kuato and that is not her in the photo. I know both Steve Johnson and Linnea personally, was working with Johnson when Total Recall was being made and the lead up to it coming out... I am quite sure I would have known had she puppeteered Kuato for Bottin.  Nor does it really look like Linnea in the picture to me, and I worked with her a lot.  I recall to this day being in Johnson's shop when Rob Bottin was being interviewed by a local radio station about his work on Total Recall, certainly Linnea puppeteering for Bottin would have been discussed in shop had it somehow happened.

Kuato was a sophisticated puppet, and Bottin being a perfectionist, would be more likely to enlist either the mechanics who built Kuato or more bonified "puppeteers" (you know, the folks who can put a sock on their hand and create an entertaining character with it) and not "Scream Queens".  Total Recall was shot in Mexico, at a minimum, Bottin would have used his regular crew people to puppeteer, Linnea was not on his crew and bringing Linnea in to do this makes no sense.

From what I heard at the time, Kuato had problems getting through Mexican customs, was supposedly cut into by officials (looking for contraband?) and that it was essentially held ransom awaiting a payoff to government officials by production.  I was told at one point that Kuato got really goofed up by customs and had to be put back together or otherwise assembled or re-assembled after the fact. Whether this is true or not, it was put out there at one time by a Bottin crew member and was discussed within the make-up effects community.

Whoever did puppeteer Kuato was probably down there for most of the show as it had numerous puppeteered elements.  I would have recalled Linnea not being in town and traveling to Mexico to work with Bottin.  Even had it been shot in the states, Steve certainly would have told me of such.

Also, Bottin and Johnson were from different camps and those camps didn't really mix. Bottin kept to himself (his shop was out in the boondocks) and few people at that time that worked for Bottin, really intermingled with the rest of the FX shops.  Most people who worked in make-up effects (the regular shops in the Valley) kind of thought of Bottin as a mystery man, wondering what it would be like to work with him.  Also, at the time, a few of the shops were at odds with each other, and it is my recollection, at that time, that Bottin and Johnson didn't really talk to each other.  For this reason alone, I don't think Bottin would have had Steve Johnson's girlfriend / wife to work on his project."

The person who sent this had no problem with me sharing a slightly edited version of the email, but he did ask to remain anonymous, which I can completely understand. I will say that this mystery man is indeed a make-up effects artist who has some seriously rad credentials listed on his impressive IMDB page, and it was pretty cool getting an email from him. There's certainly some very fascinating behind the scenes information here, and it's nice to finally have an answer to the question that has been nagging at Total Recall fans across the globe:

Linnea Quigley did not do any puppeteer work on Kuato for Total Recall

Linnea Quigly Case Closed Again


  1. "From what I heard at the time, Kuato had problems getting through Mexican customs, was supposedly cut into by officials (looking for contraband?) and that it was essentially held ransom awaiting a payoff to government officials by production."

    Ha! Poor Kuato. Seriously though, you did some good investigating, sir, and I imagine you did it all in a world where everything is black and white, the sounds of saxophones are constantly in the background, and everyone can hear your thoughts out loud.

    1. You know what, doll face, I think you might be on to something bigger than the both of us! *tilts fedora*

  2. That's a shame. I was really hoping it was her.

    1. Oh, I know. It was kind of cool thinking that such an iconic B-Movie actress like Linnea Quigley somehow got to mess around with such an iconic puppet.

    2. By the way, your avatar is so great!


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