You know the one I’m talking about.
Yeah, the bear, which serves as an uncanny representative of the strange mutations of the environment beyond the Shimmer. Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Annihilation’s visual effects supervisor Andew Whitehurst discussed the design of the creature and how, on the set, at least, it had a very cute name.
According to Whitehurst, the creature was an invention of Alex Garland’s screenplay, a physical manifestation of what Area X is capable of doing to the world. To create it, the VFX team mashed together a digital model of a person’s skull and a bear’s skull.
“We looked at that and said, ‘That’s horrible, that’s really very visually striking and interesting, what can we do with that?’” Whitehurst said. “The rest of the creature, in terms of its physiognomy, is very bear-like, but in order to get the idea of the sickness, we had parts — particularly around the face, the skull, and flesh — atrophied in a way. We gave it alopecia and other skin complaints so the creature looked like it was suffering.”
The poor animal’s name, however, was pulled from somewhere completely different. Turns out, Andrew Whitehurst was the VFX supervisor on another film with a digital bear, although this one was much sweet: Paddington.
“So this is my second bear movie,” Whitehurst told EW. “Paddington is a very nice bear, and Paddington Station [in London] is a very elegant Victorian station, so we thought, ‘What was a slightly rough-around-the-edges station?’”
Their answer: Homerton Station, the rail station from East London. So when you see the scary monster crying with the voices of its victims, say hi to Andrew Whitehurst’s dear friend Homerton.