We always have prep conversations about how we are going to shoot something. Is he going to smoosh a dummy or a prosthetic imitation of a person? Is he going to start pushing into a real person’s face and then we cut, and then VFX takes over? You go over different angles. In that particular scene, we were prepared to do a prosthetic, but we decided it would be better and more effective to what we needed to get done if we put a whole bunch of dots on the actor and then let VFX take over. Also, the actor had to get smooshed and then fall. When a dummy falls, it looks like a dummy falling. Whereas, when an actor falls, even if he’s missing a head, everything else about him would be himself. It was more effective for the actor and for us to change his head in postproduction.
For the Sage Grove segment, production took place in an abandoned asylum. In what ways did filming on location create an atmosphere and vibe for the episode?
It was an amazing, but also disturbing, location. It really did have the vestiges of what it used to be. It used to be a hospital for the criminally insane. It had a very musky old smell to it. We had to air a lot of those hallways, just so we could tolerate being in them. Then, of course, the production designer and team had to create a lot of specific things in those rooms. Those rooms were empty, and we had to fill them up. But the location was inherently right for what we were looking for. It had a labyrinthian layout. There were different looks in each hallway, in terms of the color scheme or whether it had carpeting on the floor. It was large, but it felt even larger.
And there was so much extra stuff we had to film for the security cameras. We ended up having a second unit working one of the days of that same week, just to get those extra bits. They weren’t just random. We carefully planned them. There’s little bits of people running and screaming and going down the hallways, running down the hallways and getting attacked. There’s even a little Easter egg with Love Sausage grabbing someone and pulling them by the leg down the hall. Each of those take a while to set up.
There’s a brief scene outside where Butcher has Starlight in his line of fire. There’s a certain look in his eyes. In your mind, how close was he to killing her?
There’s always that tension between Butcher and Starlight. There’s no love lost there. It’s interesting because it puts Butcher in a position. Hughie likes Starlight so much. Butcher is conflicted there. I love that moment and the payoff as soon as Starlight gets back to the van, when they have it out and she’s like, “What’s your problem with me?” It’s an example of Butcher’s pickle. He needs Starlight, but doesn’t like her.
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