There is no task too tough for “Gen V’s” makeup department head Colin Penman.
Across three seasons of Prime Video’s and Sony Pictures Television’s “The Boys,” and now its spinoff, “Gen V,” Penman has been assigned to creating an exploding penis, a five-foot-tall penis and, most recently, puppets who get into a bloody massacre.
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The show’s executive producers Eric Kripke and Michele Fazekas wanted to take a fight sequence idea to the next level for “Gen V.” Penman happened to have puppet-making skills on his resume.
Fazekas explained the genesis behind the idea, “We had talked about real Sam [Asa Germann], and his arc is sort of struggling with mental illness. We said, ‘If he’s under stress and hallucinating, what is “The Boys” world’s version of a hallucination?'”
In keeping with the tone of “The Boys,” no matter how far they pushed the story ideas, everything needed to be grounded in reality. Fazekas explained, “You can’t do something outrageous just for the sake of it being outrageous. It has to come out of the story. It has to come out of the characters.”
In the episode, Sam, who is on the run from Shetty’s Woods guards, finds himself alone. He has a mental break and begins to see the intruders as puppets.
The puppet inspiration came from growing up on TV shows like “Sesame Street.” “We loved the idea of shooting and editing a fight sequence exactly like a real fight sequence, but the only weird thing about it is that some of the people fighting are puppets,” Fazekas said.
In order to make the puppets, Penman collaborated with the costume department, which made miniature versions of the superhero outfits. It was all about the details. “[The puppets] have four fingers instead of five fingers,” Penman said. “The first glove for The Deep that came back five had fingers, and we sent it back.”
In total, it took two to three weeks to build the 15 puppets featured in the scene.
“There’s no shortcut. Everything has to be hand-stitched,” said Penman. “What you can’t see underneath the fleece is the inner structures that were put together by hand.”
The scene is full of guts and bone made out of felt, and red confetti exploding everywhere. Fazekas pointed out, “We didn’t ever want to see blood in the actual sequence, but when you come out of it, there is just gore.”
That was where VFX supervisor Karen Heston stepped in. “There was some practical glitter in the footage. And when we took over, the conversations were about where they wanted to leave all this red. It’s just red glitter. It’s supposed to be blood. So we tried to emulate an artery splashing out,” she said.
As for the giant penis?
Fazekas explained that while the scene is “insane, weird, ridiculous and funny, it’s about a girl getting coerced into sex which a lot of the women in my writer’s room either know someone that’s happened to, that’s happened to themselves while they’re in college. So that was an actual real terrible thing.”
“Lizze was constantly coming to the shop. When we started building that thing, she’d come in and size it up with her to make sure that we were in the right ballpark,” said Penman. “No pun intended.”
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