In the fantasy tale Sweet Tooth, the young hero Gus is a half-boy, half-stag hybrid child. If his little face makes Internet users crack, a question arises: how are his deer antlers and his ears created?
In Sweet Tooth, a fantasy tale and dystopian drama produced by Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan Downey, successful visual effects are paramount. In the digital age, we legitimately ask ourselves the question of whether Gus’ little hairy ears – played by Christian Convery – are 100% digital or not. The question arises all the more since Gus’ little ears move perfectly, like those of a real deer.
According to the confidences of the showrunner, Jim Mickle, at Digital spy, this mission fell to Grant Lehmann, ear puppeteer! He was able to create several pairs of ears, prostheses, more real than life and operable remotely with a remote control. These are placed above the actor’s real ears and are attached to small, hidden cables that run down his back.
It’s up to the puppeteer to play and make all kinds of shapes and reactions at varying speeds. But of course, all of this is calculated with the greatest care. Grant Lehmann must adjust to Christian’s game, anticipate his emotions and synchronize himself at the slightest reaction. In addition to these ears, Christian Convery had to wear a sort of hair helmet on which the deer antlers were clipped using magnets.
The producers of the series have therefore opted for an analog approach to create this fantastic world composed of hybrid creatures where one would think more spontaneously of digital solutions. Admittedly, the use of special effects in post-production has proven to be essential in Sweet tooth, but only when necessary, often to clean the image and erase all traces of the mechanism… or of the puppeteer!