Lamb: how the creature in the film was created

Her name is Ada and she is the other star of Valdimar Jóhannsson’s film “Lamb”. An animal with a strange physique, the creature is causing a sensation on social networks. Light on its design.

Beware, spoilers! The following article reveals elements of the plot of Lamb.

He is a character that marks the spirits, just like the film from which it is drawn. With Lamb, director Valdimar Jóhannsson recounts the plight of a couple of breeders, María (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason), isolated in the middle of the Icelandic mountain. Marked by the mourning of their child, they will meet a being who will change everything: Ada, a therianthrope creature, half-lamb, half-human. For farmers, this birth is a sign of a second chance, unless it is otherwise.

Throughout the film, the filmmaker brilliantly raises the suspense on his appearance. Hidden under a blanket or filmed from behind, the creature is desired to better let the spectators hang on to their imaginations. It is only at the end of the second act that Ada fully reveals herself. Since then, Lamb takes another turn and just takes it up a notch.

Valdimar Jóhannsson visualizes his character for the first time in one of his dreams. Present in his subconscious, the hybrid creature obsesses him so much that he devotes his first feature film to it. It is inspired by certain elements of Icelandic folklore, but also from an environment he has always known. As a child, the filmmaker often visited his grandparents who were also sheep farmers.

Lamb: how the creature in the film was created
Go to Sheep 2021

Ada, the creature from the movie “Lamb”.

On screen, the rarer the animal, the more fascination it arouses, as in Jaws by Steven Spielberg. “Initially, I must have had nearly 200 shots of Ada, but in the end I kept only 70, more or less”, Reveals Valdimar Jóhannsson. The visual effects were produced by Fredrik Nord, Stockholm-based supervisor.

To create the animal, 4 lambs, 10 children of different ages and 2 puppets were needed. Such an organization therefore requires shooting the same scenes several times. “Sometimes I had to play with a kid who had dots marked on the face, sometimes with a doll that had a head in the shape of a lamp”, Has fun Hilmir Snær Guðnason. It was the first time that I did such a thing. ”

Lamb: how the creature in the film was created
Lilja Jonsdottir / Eli Arenson Instagram

For some scenes, especially those in the bed, the film crew uses a puppet.

In France, The Jokers distributors were keen to preserve the suspense around Ada as much as possible, with a few stealth shots here and there in the trailers. In the United States, the strategy has been different. Famous production company, A24 has made the creature its new mascot. In a promotional video, a competition was even organized to win the unique copy of a doll with his effigy.

Nice success across the Atlantic, Lamb has also inspired many viewers on social media. For some, the creature has become a Halloween costume, for others, a real muse. Several artists share their creations on Instagram, an application on which Ada has her own filter. A beautiful tribute to a film that stands out for its strangeness.

Some examples of creations and costumes on Instagram:

Interview by Thomas Desroches, in Iceland, in November 2021.

Lamb is currently in theaters.

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