If you have been acquainted with the Bloaters in the Last of Us game, you would know how difficult they are to take down. The fourth and rarest stage of the infected specimen officially made its premiere in the Last of Us TV show running on HBO and it was nothing short of glorious.
Episode 5 of The Last of Us saw the creature emerge from an underground tunnel to horrifying effect. Now, the four-time Emmy-winner prosthetics designer Barrie Gower explains how he brought it to life.
During a recent sit down with Variety, Barrie Gower, the man responsible for the full-body prosthetics for Stranger Things' Vecna and many other terrifying creatures that earned him four Emmys over the course of his career, gave a detailed explanation of how this version of the Bloater came to be.
We had a whole copy of his body that we modeled the bloater prosthetics over in modeling clay. We cast it out of a foam rubber and foam latex, which is very lightweight. It’s almost like an upholstery foam, a very spongy sort of material. That was all molded and cast in separate sections: top half, head, arms, legs. We had a team who fabricated all these parts together. We had a zipper up the back and around the waist that we could zip them together. He had all these pendulous folds of fungus which hid zippers and poppers."
Adam Basil, a 6 '6'' British stunt person, was the person deemed worthy of carrying this suit that weighs an astonishing 40 kilos (88 pounds). This was a great challenge for everyone involved, with an additional 15 other stunt performers dressed as Clickers, and another 50+ acting as infected. The team preparing the outlooks for the team of 65 prosthetic artists reportedly spent five hours getting the horde scene camera-ready.
The Bloater was played by Adam Basil, a 6’6” U.K. stuntman who worked on “Game of Thrones”
Prosthetic Makeup Designer Barrie Gower estimates the entire bloater suit weighed 40 kilograms or more, roughly 88 pounds. #TheLastOfUs pic.twitter.com/FnJC1mlWRF
— The Last of Us News (@TheLastofUsNews) February 11, 2023
The suit would be very soft, but very slimy and wet,” Gower explains. We covered him in this gel-like solution, which gave him a gloss to all the fungus. We had lots of little spines and spiky hairs punched into his body, like little growths burrowing out. To get the shapes to read, we had to cover them in a gloss."
Their efforts have not been in vain, as the numbers back their success. Episode four of Last of Us broke another viewership record, with 7.5 million viewers in the US tuning in. Not only is that a 17% growth from the previous week, but it represents a continuation of the trend.
The fifth episode aired a few days ago, to not overlap with Super Bowl Sunday and its many commercials. It'll be interesting to see if it can keep growing its viewership. The success of the TV show has also generated interest in the original game as well as its next installment. Unfortunately, the remake of the PC version of the original source material was delayed by a few weeks.