Yellowjackets Part 2: How Jackie became vegan in the final scene
Special effects makeup supervisor Todd Masters and coordinator Lori Sandness tell IndieWire that for Season 2, Jackie will be doing multiple iterations.
(Editor’s Note: Spoilers abound for the first and second episodes of “Yellowjackets” Season 2.)
The “yellowcoats” will never miss an opportunity for death to disturb the living. That said, season two episode 2, “Edible Complex,” sends off the recently deceased Jackie (Ella Purnell) in truly twisted fashion. To create the various iterations of Jackie’s corpse, the Showtime series used Masters’ FX team, led by award-winning gore veteran Todd Masters. Masters has a wealth of experience creating corpses, including building the corpses used on “Six Feet Under.”
The process of creating iterations of Jackie’s frozen body for the other girls to act against involved first digitally creating a model of Jackie’s head and body, then turning that model into a “hero” mannequin made of fiberglass-structured silicon and human hair. that extra realism. But the team also created a version that can handle multiple fires.
“We called it Burn Log Jackie because we designed it like a burning log, you know, where it’s cement and it was plaster,” Lori Sandness, special effects coordinator for makeup, told IndieWire. “But we never actually set it on fire,” Masters added. “We actually (burned) the really expensive hero dummy.”
But the version of Jackie’s corpse that posed the greatest challenge to the team was the edible version. “We called it Luau Jackie because we wanted the texture of a pig fresh off the fire,” Masters said. “We didn’t want (the corpse) to look like the aftermath of a burn victim, to look too human, because that’s gross. We wanted it to be luscious, juicy and appealing. The conversations when we were designing the look were about luaus and suckling pigs. One of our lead artists is from Hawaii, so it was perfect because he knew the look.”
Luau Jackie was also made mostly of silicon, but with built-in pockets that the team could stuff “meat” into for the actors to rip out. However, actual raw meat is unhygienic, unpleasant and difficult to restore. “The original ‘Dawn of the Dead’ uses real flesh and guts, and it’s horrible to work on set, especially when you have to pick it up days or weeks later. And there are a lot of vegetarians on the crew, in our effects team. At Masters FX, we’re 73 percent women, so it’s almost like we have our own tribe, our own football team,” said Masters.
Ethical cannibal meat is very appropriate for the moment when the girls collectively agree to cross that line. And the solution the Masters FX team came up with was wonderfully versatile, looks great on camera and is ripe for puns. “I remember we used jackfruit because we called it Jackfruit Jackie,” Sandness said. “We had to make something simple without too much flavor. And we found that jackfruit was one of the easiest things that looked like meat. With rice paper, which we put in an air oven to make it a little crispy and get a little golden shade. You take it apart and it looks like pork.”
The process involved a particularly fun and creepy meeting, even for the “Yellowjackets” production team. “There was a point where Lori and I took a (Jackie mannequin) into production and put it on the negotiating table. All the directors and everybody were around us because we were trying to figure out where do they eat? We need to know in order to make these little twenty pockets. So (we started) breaking out of the feast with everybody,” Masters said.
But getting the body to the location in time was its own challenge, given the actors’ schedules and tight turns, the effects team had to create various iterations of Jackie. “We looked into Purnell with the expression that he died last season and checked with him via email,” Masters said. “So when he (came in) to shoot Season 2, it was a moment of strange reality. You know, we worked with him on a puppet and we never met him, and then he shows up and it was kind of weird like, “Well, how close were we?”
Masters and his team are still looking for opportunities to test their skills against the rest of the Yellowjackets cast. “We did some make-up tests on (Lauren Ambrose as the adult Van), the progressive scarring from the bad version to the healed version,” Masters said. “I worked with Lauren Ambrose on ‘Six Feet Under,’ and Christina Ricci on ‘Addams’ Family Values’ and ’50 States of Fright,’ so it’s a very familiar group. It’s really fun figuring out how to eat them in the end.”
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