Did you guys consult a doctor to find out if Termite’s actions really would feel good? What’s the extent of your research here?
Stephan Fleet, who is our visual effects coordinator, did an incredible amount of research. He kept saying to the various visual effects houses, “It’s not like you can’t find an image online.” Click online, and there’s 2 billion examples of a penis and every possible close-up that you can use for reference.
There was a lot of conversation about how, because the penis is laying on the table, if you’re being anatomically correct, the hole into the urethra is much higher than what we’re saying it is. It would be way higher than an actor could jump up into, where it naturally goes. We had to debate, like, “does he climb it? What does he do?” Finally, I just said, as an executive order, lower the hole. The audience won’t care. Lower it just enough that he can jump up and grab it. So, already from the beginning, we were taking certain liberties with anatomical accuracy.
The ends justify the means.
We’re in the dream factory, and it’s all about illusion.
Speaking of that, does your team have a tried and true formula for guts? How did you decide what looked real inside the walls of the urethra?
A lot of the gore is CG. In that particular case, for instance, the torso landing on the bed and all the bile and goo that’s all over the bed with the intestines, that’s almost entirely CG.
Why does Termite get bigger when he sneezes? What’s the rationale?
He just can’t control it. He sneezed and he had an involuntary reaction. He doesn’t choose to blow up at that particular moment. He doesn’t want to, but he just couldn’t help it because he sneezed.
That was really inspired by Annie Hall, where the Woody Allen character sneezes in front of the big pile of cocaine and it all goes everywhere. It’s just the notion that an involuntary reaction causes this [oversized] response.
Do you try to one-up yourself from season to season, or is that a trap? If this is just Season 3, where will you have to go in Season 7, for instance?
There’s for sure a trap in it, so we try to not do it. We literally never have the conversation of, “Well, we did this, so we have to go bigger.” Literally never.
The only thing we do in terms of evolving between the seasons is to feel a pressure and obligation to get deeper into the characters. What’s a new facet or a deeper facet or a more hidden and guarded facet of that character we haven’t seen yet? We’re peeling the onions back on these characters, and it’s a different level each season. How do we make sure the new level we’re exploring is deeper than the other ones, not parallel, not more surface, but more core to who they are as a person and more painful for them to face and deal with. That’s really challenging because each season you’ve got to get more thoughtful about their psychology.