For the longest time, Wētā FX has had its core intertwined with the Lord of the Rings franchise. Lord of the Rings helmer Peter Jackson, one of the founders of the visual effects powerhouse, was instrumental in helping it become one of the industry’s largest. Due to this unbridled success, Wētā’s many diverse teams are naturally able to acquire most productions released today. If you didn’t already expect it, this booming consequence includes HBO’s The Last of Us, with the video game adaptation having extensive work done by the vendor’s teams. Although Wētā is deep-rooted in its ties to Lord of the Rings, one employee’s roots went considerably deeper.
Gino Acevedo, who was primarily involved with the team concerning the design and sculpting of the Gollum character, now also managed to recently get involved in the design of another pop cultural staple: The Last of Us’ Bloater. “Gino was heavily involved in the creation of the Bloater. He figured out all the proportions and some of the growths and yeah, it was a combination of game reference and what we had gotten from the prosthetic suit, and then what we had done in terms of concept work, and then some unreleased concept work from Naughty Dog as well, that Neil was generous enough to let us take a look at,” Simon Jung, a supervisor at Wētā FX tells us.
Dennis Yoo, one of the animation supervisors at Wētā who contributed to the series, was thrilled to collaborate with the prosthetics legend. “It was pretty awesome having him on board knowing that Craig Mazin was such a fan of Lord of the Rings, when he heard that he was pretty blown away as well,” adds the filmmaker.
Acevedo was also directly involved in helping come up with a design for the terrifying girl Clicker, which debuted in the same episode as the Bloater.
“Speaking of nightmares, that’s still haunting,” stated Jung regarding the character. “It took a very long time to sell both the fact that this is a child, or used to be a child 20 years ago before she fully matured into that Clicker status. That she’s a child, because of the proportions of her were really hard to sell because you don’t have the eyes or you don’t have a nose, you don’t have really a forehead or anything that you immediately would recognize visually as the proportions of a child where everything is kind of a little bit out of scale.”
For those seeking more content on Last of Us, feel free to check out ComicBook and Entertainment Tonight’s latest podcast: The Last of Pods. The podcast breaks down each episode and includes interviews with the show’s special guests and more. You can catch the first season of The Last of Us streaming now in its entirety on HBO Max. The Last of Pods can be listened to wherever podcasts are normally available.