Los Angeles Times



Visual effects supervisor Geoffrey Baumann says the most challengin­g part of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was the underwater world of Talokan. However, “the most frightenin­g part was making Namor [Talokan’s ruler, played by Tenoch Huerta Mejía] a character people would like. Namor had been reinvented so many times, but generally, he was just kind of an ass—.”

There was also the fact that, as in the comics, Namor’s power of flight depended on little wings on his ankles. “How do you not make that silly?” Baumann asks. “Wakanda” production department­s ran many underwater tests. They discovered one character’s grass skirt played floating peekaboo in the water. They learned hair and clothing often didn’t behave, so some performers wore skull caps and had their lovely locks added in post, while some wore partial costumes, Baumann’s team adding the top layers digitally. Finally, they shot most underwater footage dry-for-wet (meaning actually out of the water), often reshooting scenes they’d already captured.

“The challenge was to be able to seamlessly intercut,” he says. The effort was helped by what the camera team and actors learned from shooting it wet initially.

For Namor’s movements, they studied athletes including triple jumpers and all-time great running back Barry Sanders. But when it came to those winged ankles ...

“The first step was, we animated,” Baumann says, laughing, “these mini CG helicopter­s on the ankle of a CG character to see how they would move.”

Somehow it all worked out — Namor’s flight became majestic and Huerta Mejía’s take on the character became downright ... likable.

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