VFX: Apple TV+'s <I>Lisey's Story</I>
Issue: May/June 2022

VFX: Apple TV+'s Lisey's Story

Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King and adapted by the author himself, Lisey’s Story is a deeply-personal thriller that follows Lisey Landon (Julianne Moore) two years after the death of her husband, famous novelist Scott Landon (Clive Owen). A series of unsettling events causes Lisey to face memories of her marriage to Scott that she has deliberately blocked out of her mind.

An Apple Original limited series, Lisey’s Story was directed by Pablo Larraín and hails from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Every episode of the series was personally written by King. The eight-episode show also stars Joan Allen, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Dane DeHaan. Pauline Duvall acted as production VFX supervisor on the series.

“From the beginning, we knew we wanted to keep the look as grounded as possible for the real world scenes, while in contrast, we could be more surreal and fantastical while in Boo'ya Moon,” Duvall (pictured) explains. 

“We were challenged to create a massive creature that was designed to be comprised of decomposing tortured souls. Our team meticulously modeled, rigged, [look developed], animated, simulated and integrated 590 bodies and hundreds of additional body parts that moved distinctly, while also forming a terrifying silhouette.”

The show was filming in Brooklyn, NY, when on March 13th of 2020, the production shut down due to COVID. 

“It was devastating,” she recalls, “but our amazing production team got everyone home safely, and our phenomenal VFX team was able to get the artists working from home with minimal downtime. Working and adapting throughout the pandemic created so many different challenges. I have such deep gratitude and respect for our crew’s generosity of time, flexibility, creativity and grit.”

The VFX team used a combination of Unreal Engine, Houdini, Nuke, Maya, Nvidia graphics cards and Teradici to complete their work.