LOS ANGELES — Method Studios is providing insight into their work on Netflix’s Okja. The feature centers around Mija, a young girl who must risk everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive hippo-like animal named Okja. In addition to streaming on Netflix, the film also had a limited theatrical run.
Director Bong brought on Method Studios and Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Erik-Jan De Boer (Life of Pi) to take his concept of Okja to CG reality. To create the feeling of a living, breathing animal, the effects team crafted a foam puppet rig to serve as Okja on set and interact with the actors in real time.
Method’s VFX animation director Stephen Clee puppeteered the unique rig in nearly 300 shots during production, ultimately developing a palpable bond with young Mija (played by Seo-Hyun Ahn). Clee also supervised the animation team through post production, while compositing supervisor Pieter van Houte and his team were hired to create and enhance the subtle contact shadow work.