HBO’s “The Nevers” lead character Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) garnered some enemies when she gained unearthly powers.

In the third episode of the Victorian era-set HBO drama, she falls into a lake and is confronted by new nemesis Odium (Martyn Ford). An epic action sequence takes place as Odium stands on the water trying to drown her.

Visual-effects supervisor John H. Han knew that sequence would be a highlight of the series and wanted to make sure to show off Amalia’s unique abilities in a way the audience hadn’t seen before.

There were careful considerations about what could be done practically due to the size of the water tank; where the green screen, wires and camera would be; and what kind of lighting they had. “We also had to look at the crane for shooting and how far it would reach underwater,” he says. “It was a sobering of reality.” He relied on “tech-viz, stunt-viz and previz” to bring all the teams together to prepare for the shoot.


The water tank used to shoot the sequence was previously featured in films such as “No Time to Die” and “Rocketman.” Around it was “a full green screen that we could switch to white, which was handy if we were doing underwater shots,” Han says. If “you’re looking up through the water, it gave an overcast sky effect.”

One thing Han is particularly proud of is that “The Nevers” was able to use its actors, rather than digital doubles, for this stunt sequence. He says except for a few extreme moments “when she’s getting thrown across the
room on wires, every other shot is Laura.”