The Last of Us Filmmakers Break Down Show's Scariest Character (Exclusive)

In a show full of horrifying moments, few tuning into The Last of Us thought any moment was scarier than when a Clicker child contorted her way into the vehicle where Ellie (Bella Ramsey) was hiding. It's a sequence of full-on body horror sending chills down the spines of any who watched. As it turns out, the moment and character in question were nightmares on more than one front; according to the filmmakers at Wētā FX, the little girl Clicker was the single hardest part of the show to get right.

"The coolest thing about it was when it became clear that we were going to have to replace her because it was an actress on set with a prosthetic on her, but the problem was that she didn't look childlike enough, and then it became clear that we have to replace her with a digital-double. I mean, everybody was crazy excited about it because that's not something that you get to do very often," Wētā VFX supervisor Simon Jung tells us.

Jung says the idea for the character was introduced by Naughty Dog, the game publisher behind the source material the show is based on. The game-maker turned in some concept art to Jung and his team, serving as the ultimate inspiration for the final digital build.

"Speaking of nightmares, that's still haunting," Jung adds. "It took a very long time to sell both the fact that this is a child, or used to be a child 20 years ago before she fully matured into that Clicker status. That she's a child, because of the proportions of her were really hard to sell because you don't have the eyes or you don't have a nose, you don't have really a forehead or anything that you immediately would recognize visually as the proportions of a child where everything is kind of a little bit out of scale."

Though the Clicker was eventually replaced by a digi-double—a 100-percent CGI model—animation supervisor Dennis Yoo adds that he and his animation team made it a point to replicate the on-set actor's performance as best as they could.

"She was a contortionist, so all that creepy motion that was done, it was her, it's a hundred percent her," Yoo adds. "But what we had to do, since we are moving it into CG, we had to recreate it with the match move. We matched smooth it as tight as we could, and then we had to enhance potential finger contacts and rough kind of context, we had to make a little bit more detailed."

For more Last of Us content, check out ComicBook and Entertainment Tonight's new podcast: The Last of Pods. The podcast includes breakdowns of each episode, interviews with special guests from the show, and more. The first season The Last of Us is now streaming in its entire on HBO Max. The Last of Pods is available where podcasts can be heard.