Of all the stunning visual effects present in Zack Snyder’s epic Netflix film Army of the Dead, perhaps the most impressive is one that is seemingly invisible.
We’re of course talking about the decision to replace * one of the original cast in the film (Chris D’Elia) with comedian Tig Notaro, who was added to the film long after filming ended.
This meant not only D’Elia’s digital erasure from the film, but also the digital insertion of Notaro, who was to film most of his role alone in front of a green screen.
During a recent interview with Stephen Colbert, Notaro noted that she had never met Army of the Dead lead actor Dave Bautista, despite sharing the majority of her scenes with him in the finished film. .
Magic visual effects
In an effort to show the world just how much of a business this decision was, Netflix released an Army of the Dead VFX reel that shows how Notaro was put into the film and what helped make his inclusion so seamless.
The image above shows such an example, in which the VFX artists were tasked with tweaking the lighting and glare surrounding Notaro in post to match the rest of the scene.
You can check out the full video below, which also showcases Army of the Dead’s many digital environments and gore gags, as well as the creation of the zombie tiger from the movie.
A new watermark
If the video above proves one thing, it’s that Hollywood has made remarkable strides over the past few years when it comes to minimizing the impact of replacing an actor after production.
In 2017, director Ridley Scott made the decision to wipe Kevin Spacey from his film, All the Money in the World, following accusations of sexual misconduct brought against the actor during the height of the #MeToo movement.
Spacey was eventually replaced by Christopher Plummer, who would go on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the film.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott discussed efforts to replace the actor. “I immediately jumped in and said, ‘I can fix this. We’re going to have to redesign, make sure everyone was available and the locations were available so that I can go back ASAP and get every shot that [Spacey] was in. “
By comparison, Snyder was able to film all of Notaro’s scenes in Army of the Dead without having access to his previous locations or even the rest of his cast. This shows how invaluable VFX tools have become and will continue to be in the process of making a movie.
* D’Elia was charged in June 2020 with predatory behavior and inappropriate interactions with underage fans, charges he denies.