Hollow Man

By Mark Ramsey | 2000/08/02

So last weekend, I had the privilege of participating in an online video Q&A with Hollow Man star Kevin Bacon and director Paul Verhoeven. Unfortunately, the gatekeepers didn’t submit any of my questions to Paul and Kevin.

Why? Because it was evidently more important to re-ask for the umpteenth time the same questions these folks are always asked. Were my questions inappropriate? Judge for yourself:

• Kevin, is it true that the character of Hollow Man is based on Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips?

• Paul, after you made Showgirls did you wish you were invisible for real?

• Paul, during the making of Starship Troopers, whose job was it to install the personality chip in Denise Richards?

• Paul, since you’re Dutch, does that mean the crew had to buy their own lunch?

• Paul and Kevin, can I see you two guys kiss?


Hollow Man is a horrific dazzler. It may lack the emotional heft of a movie like Gladiator, but it’s a full throttle creepshow with the year’s most delirious and stunning visual effects.

The wildly underrated Kevin Bacon is at the helm, along with the wildly overrated Elizabeth Shue who sports the official Lorraine Gary hairdo from Jaws The Revenge and the acting chops to match.

If you’ve seen The Fly or a million other fright flicks you already know the story: Arrogant scientist toys with forces of nature, achieves the impossible, goes nuts, and must be stopped at all costs, or at least at the cost of William Devane’s life. Then again, since Bill is a creepy reminder of what JFK would look like at 60, maybe it’s a bargain.

Thanks to a secret Pentagon-funded program, Kevin transforms into the invisible man, his body dissolving one layer at a time, like a Mary Tyler Moore face peel. Skin gives way to muscle gives way to circulatory system gives way to organs gives way to bone gives way to a supporting gig on Ally McBeal. Evidently, the transition to invisibility is so painful it almost sends Kevin into cardiac arrest. How come? It sure didn’t hurt Connie Stevens or Adrian Zmed!

Why is it that whenever Kevin flashes his pee-pee the audience laughs? My hunch: A bigger star would have negotiated more pixels in his peter. If it were Nicholson, this thing would look like the Orient Express!

According to Hollow Man digital effects supervisor Wren Dergenitals:

“We toyed (so to speak) with various sizes and styles of pee-pee for Kevin’s character, and we finally concluded that Kevin should have an efficient, subcompact variety, largely due to Footloose. Digitally speaking, there are more zeros than ones in Kevin’s unit; frankly, it takes more processing power to run a thermostat than render that little guy. We called one version the ‘Sony Playstation’ and another the ‘Texas Instrument,’ but my favorite was the special purpose one that scared the gals in the office: The ‘Lever 2000.’”


Hollywood loves serums! Eddie Murphy has his youth serum, Kevin has his invisibility serum. And they always glow in fluorescent colors – meaning you may turn invisible, but you’ll look like Swamp Thing in a black light, and your blood can double as a highlighter.

When Kevin goes transparent he loses his mind and creates what the Pentagon personnel department would surely term a “hostile work environment.” An invisible Kevin unbuttons a woman’s blouse and fondles her bare breast. Or maybe it’s not Kevin and the implant just wants to be taken for a walk.

Hollow Man is certainly not above kooky impossibilities. In one scene, Elizabeth Shue is stuck in a freezer at 40 degrees below zero. And she’s screwing around like she’s poolside in Malibu on a Martha Stewart mission from doily-ville. Girl, it’s COLD! Be the cold, feel the cold. DiCaprio died in 50-degree water, but your joints aren’t even stiff, for God’s sake!

And, for the last time, don’t turn your back on the dead evil guy before you know he’s dead, okay?

Photos Copyright ©2000 Columbia Pictures, Inc.


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