The Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once is jam-packed with weird, wonderful, random moments that reward both the first-time and repeat viewer. Just one that stands out: the sight of Harry Shum dressed as a chef wearing a real raccoon on his head, in an alternate-timeline riff on Pixar’s Ratatouille.
Don’t worry — though it was indeed a real raccoon, the animal was a taxidermy find repurposed with some animatronic bits. How did the filmmakers decide on this approach for “Raccacoonie” as opposed to CGI work? The Ringer featured some behind the scenes tidbits from makeup and effects supervisor Jason Hamer, who was the Moreau-esque mastermind behind the 7 kg robot raccoon used for the movie. “You’ve got to think about the challenges of, you’ve got an actor and we’ve got to mount it to his head. Are we going to do puppet arms? Are we going to make it animatronic?” he said. Further complicating the task, the directors challenged him to find a way on a budget. “The guys were like, ‘Think cheap. We don’t want it to look good. It should look goofy, like a bad taxidermy.’ That was one of the challenges. And I’m going, ‘No. Cool and beautiful and funny!’”
So naturally, they rigged a taxidermy raccoon with some major animatronic upgrades to mount on a backpack for Shum, who plays the Alfredo to the raccoon’s Remy. To his credit, the actor was game for the wild places the Daniels were keen on going. “The initial response was like, ‘What the fuck?’” said Shum. “And, ‘Yes, please.’”
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