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Why They Couldn't Just 3D Print Sweet Tooth's Iconic Mask For Peacock's Twisted Metal Series

If you're going to bring the face of the Twisted Metal franchise to life, then you better do it right.

By Josh Weiss
Samoa Joe as Sweet Tooth in Twisted Metal

If you're going to bring the face of the Twisted Metal franchise to live-action, then you better do it right. Liz Vastola, costume designer for the Peacock series adaptation inspired by the hit PlayStation video games, knew she couldn't just phone it in when it came the fan favorite character of Sweet Tooth (physically portrayed by wrestler Samoa Joe and voiced by executive producer Will Arnett).

As the Daredevil and Jessica Jones alumnus told NBC Insider, the sociopathic clown known for driving an ice cream truck and setting his scalp on fire — who essentially serves the de factor mascot for the entire Twisted Metal brand — was the "barometer" for the rest of the show. His ultimate look would either make or break the entire thing, and we're happy to say Vastola passed the proverbial roadblock with flying colors.

RELATED: Anthony Mackie Wants a Rematch With Samoa Joe After His Twisted Metal Smackdown

The Origin of Sweet Tooth's Mask in Twisted Metal

While several elements were needed to properly depict Sweet Tooth onscreen, the most important aspect was his iconic mask, which nearly took a different turn from the beloved source material.

"Originally, I had started to [think] ‘Oh, maybe it might look a little different' or 'We might do this or that or whatever,'" the costume designer admits during a recent Zoom interview with SYFY WIRE. "And then we definitely decided that we want it to be game accurate."

With that settled, Vastola & co. had to decide on the best course of fabricating the item. "Are you 3D printing in this day and age?" she recalls of the brainstorming process. "Are you doing a computer model of it?" Considering how the series takes place in a reality where society collapsed in 2002, they ruled out the concept of 3D printing since that particular phenomenon didn't really begin until the 2010s.

"We actually decided to have a sculptor, an incredible costume fabricator in New York named Sam Hill, do a hand-sculpt in clay of the mask and essentially recreate the design in clay," Vastola explains. "Once you have the clay, you make a plaster mold and then what I think it's actually made out of is a form of hard silicone. So what happens there is that if you sweat or heat gets to it, it does have a slight pliability to it that you can then re-fashion, as opposed to it being something extremely breakable."

She continues: "That hand done quality to it serves the character and serves our world. Because if we start to have costume elements that look like they're 3D printed, or there's a high level of tech involved in its engineering, then we're in a different world. We’re in a place of post-2020 [full of] people with incredible technological innovation — and that's just not our group. So as much as I could stay true to a more hand done look, I think that serves the story better."

All 10 episodes of Twisted Metal are now streaming on Peacock.

Want more original Peacock content? Be sure to check out Bel-AirKilling ItA Friend of the FamilyPoker FaceJoe vs. CaroleMrs. DavisMacGruber, and Based on a True Story