In the last episode of “Good Omens,” the Amazon adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s novel of the same name, a 500-foot-tall Satan rises from the ground to confront his son (Sam Taylor Buck), the antichrist with the power to bring about the end of the world. On most shows, such a confrontation would likely be enveloped in hellfire and demonic images aimed to terrify, but Gaiman and his team went the opposite direction. Instead, they worked to create an enthralling yet intimate portrayal of a rebellious son rejecting his absentee father, who happens to be voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Supervising sound editor
“I was involved in capturing Benedict’s performance, which was recorded to guide pictures or an early version of the animation that is in the final show. [Director] Douglas Mackinnon had chosen the takes he wanted to use for the final performance — that then obviously became locked down because it was then used to fine-tune the lip sync on the animation. And then once we knew that those are the takes to be used, we started to process and add all the other sounds — the body sounds, the rocks, the growling, the moving earth and everything else — to bring out the size of the character.”
“The shots of the Satan figure had to fit in with the already-filmed footage. You’ve got a bit of a panorama figure — he’s looming out of the ground — and so it’s coming up with angles that fit in with what has already been shot, but work really well just to get that sense of scale across. You’ve got to make the viewer believe that all these different elements all work together as a whole. The whole point of that scene is the way the characters are reacting to each other, and I’m glad one of the things I was able to do in the boards was give a certain amount of emotional heft to Satan.”
“Our concepts originally were much more hellish: There were holes in the flesh, you could see the bones coming through. Neil’s input at that point was, ‘Listen, we’ve really got to go back to more of the human form.’ We had a little bit of reference for Benedict that we used quite a lot animation-wise, trying to just get the features and just different types of movement. There was mud and rocks and stuff crashing out of the ground. The point is about Satan coming out of the ground, and so we had to refine that — not with taking it all out, but just with making the key part of the shot the emergence of Satan.”
Writer, executive producer
“Nothing for me exemplifies the amazing crew more than that 14-minute sequence on the airfield, because that was filmed over a period of months. Instead of being there for five days at [one] point, five days on that airfield was spread over nine weeks, as it got colder and wetter with every journey that we got back there. And you’re out on this deserted airfield, with the wind coming through, and somehow between the magic of Douglas and the magic of Gavin [Finney, the DP] and the amazing camera crew and also of Gareth [Spensley], the colorist who made it all happen in this magical, magical sort of sunset time.”