The ta­lent be­hind “The Ter­ror" dis­cusses what went into the dra­matic third episode.

“The Ter­ror,” Sea­son 1, Episode 3

Variety - - Contents - BY SCOTT HUVER

THE FIRST BIG dra­matic crescendo for AMC’S hor­ro­ron-the-ice se­ries comes in the third episode of the an­thol­ogy se­ries, when, in his quixotic quest to dis­cover the North­west Pas­sage through the Arc­tic for the British Ad­mi­ralty, Cap­tain Sir John Franklin (Ciaran Hinds) is vi­o­lently killed by the mon­strous Tu­un­baq. Ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers David Ka­j­ganich and Soo Hugh wanted to main­tain the show’s ubeer-re­al­is­tic ap­proach while creating a se­quence so evoca­tive view­ers felt like they got a glimpse of the myth­i­cal crea­ture, even though it re­mains com­pletely ob­scured. “One of our first rules on the hor­ror side of the show was to al­ways be a bit closer to the ac­tion than the au­di­ence is used to be­ing,” Ka­j­ganich says. “Our man­date was to in­fuse this death with a sub­jec­tive point of view, that we stay in the show’s tone that even death come from a sub­jec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence,” adds Hugh. “It came from a psy­cho­log­i­cally al­most sur­real van­tage point.”

Ed­i­tor

“Turn­ing up all the ge­og­ra­phy on a rel­a­tively tight stage was dif­fi­cult. We set up Ciaran on the end of a crane arm with a cam­era point­ing at him, so he was wav­ing around as though he was be­ing trans­ported by the Tu­un­baq to a fire hole, ba­si­cally a hole in the ice that they made to get through to the ocean. That’s where Ciaran fi­nally gets dumped. We built a set with the full thick­ness of the fire hole up on a plat­form so that we could see Ciaran be­ing dropped into it from un­der­neath, and then the sides of it would pull out, so then the cam­era could be in the side of it and see him wedged in there. Then we had to set that on a 45-de­gree an­gle for cer­tain shots. That was prob­a­bly the more com­plex part of it in terms of the jig­saw puz­zle of set pieces, to get the se­quence to­gether.”

“This scene plays out in broad day­light in the mid­dle of the ice land­scape. I asked our pro­duc­tion de­signer to build me a set in a way that would be a lit­tle bit of a maze made of ice ridges, so that Franklin would have some en­vi­ron­ment around him­self that the crea­ture could the­o­ret­i­cally be hid­ing be­hind when we don’t see it. We shot it on green screen and then just put the back­ground, but es­sen­tially, ev­ery­thing else was done in-cam­era. There’s a cou­ple of quick shots of this mon­u­men­tal place in­ter-cut­ting with the ice­bergs that are flash­ing past his eyes. It took us out of the re­al­ity and im­me­di­ately in­tro­duced this very sub­jec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence.”

“To me, it was al­most like a kind of dance. The Tu­un­baq is al­most waltz­ing with him around the room. When I thought of the shots of the Ad­mi­ralty and the shots of the ice, I could be­gin to in­ter­cut those quite ef­fec­tively with his point of view; it was al­most shot like he was be­ing taken for a dance, rather than be­ing dragged to his gory death. That’s what Dave and Soo al­ways wanted: not to be what you ex­pect from a more mod­ern hor­ror.”

De­spite the freez­ing look of the se­ries, “The Ter­ror” was not shot out­side, let alone in the Arc­tic. In­stead, the cast and crew filmed on sound­stages in Croa­tia and re­lied heav­ily on CGI.

“There were a lot of cos­tumes con­tribut­ing to Franklin’s portly belly — Ciaran isn’t that size at all! It was just try­ing to make him com­fort­able with that ad­di­tional bulk. There was a lot of lay­ers on that cos­tume, so I think we even chopped out the arms of the un­der lay­ers just so they could move more freely, and did some false fronts be­cause of the bulk of it. We had to build in all kinds of safety rigs be­cause he was ba­si­cally picked up go­ing down that hole.”

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