Today I collected our three and a half foot animatronic – well actually, hand puppet – monster pike. It was made by effects guru Jenny Cochrane and it weighs A TON! This fish is never going to be seen out of water, only in the murky shallows as it battles with Young Bill. We will need two submerged operators, one for the head, one for the tail. Being operated by humans, this will also give it the movement of something alive, and not the movement of a mechanism. The head is effectively a glove puppet, giving the operator full control over head thrashing and jaws snapping. Having worked in effects before, I know how well this will work, and I am delighted I resisted using a real pike.
I love this kind of effect, that will rely on a hint and a glimpse, rather than the current visual barrage of digital effects. The mind is so much more powerful.
During the main shoot, stunt co-ordinator Jude Poyer donned a dry suit from diving company Diving Leisure London who are breaking into film hire and have been fantastic. We hope Jude will be coming back to operate the killer pike. We hope those lovely guys at Diving Leisure London will come back too.
Before the main shoot, Jenny was concerned about the deadline, and so I made the choice to give her the time to get it right rather than hurry it. I am glad we did as we will now get a huge amount of time on Wednesday to get the shots right too. Anything like this always takes a long time to get right, and I am so glad we wont have a crew of 35 and actors all hanging around to watch.
Onward and upward!