Going deep inside Eddie Murphy's head

Eddie MURPHY is taking the Mini Me idea to new lengths. In "Meet Dave," an aliens-invade-Earth comedy opening July 11 from Twentieth Century Fox, Murphy plays the thumb-sized captain of a spaceship that looks strikingly like, well, Eddie Murphy.

Along with the Mini Murphy operating controls inside the Mega Murphy's head, "there are probably 100 other crew members inside it as well," says production designer Clay Griffith ("Lucky You," "Norbit"). "It's kind of like 'Gulliver's Travels,' " he says, but with the little people inside. Griffith got a lot of his inspiration for designing the spaceship from Eero Saarinen's futuristic-looking TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. "It looks very skull-like and has no right angles in it. It is compound curves that meld into other ones. I thought that was a good place to start because the human body doesn't have a lot of right angles in its structure."

Griffith also studied the work of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who designed the Milwaukee Art Museum. "It looks like a living thing," he says. "It feels like you are inside of a creature. It's very organic in that respect. I sort of followed that lead. We created the spinal column as an elevator shaft to go from different levels of the spaceship. You get off at any floor and you are at a certain rib cage, so all the corridors were rounded."

-- Susan King

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