Creating a killer sex scene
As Bilquis devours 'Paunch' (Joel Murray) with her vagina, the goddess appears to grow larger and larger until the man disappears. Given the task of actually making that over-the-top imagery a reality, visual effects designer Kevin Tod Haug and his team considered several ways in which it could be filmed for real.
Haug's team first considered filming the actors in separate takes at different distances from the camera, then recombining them so that Badaki would look bigger than Murray. That proved problematic.
"A lot of our initial plans were based on having a track in the floor that you could pull back to get the room in frame, and then push in to make her bigger," says Haug. "But the problem was it didn't always line up properly."
Haug required a different solution using the previously shot sex footage. Luckily the American Gods team captured Bilquis's consumption in such a high resolution and that visual effects artists could basically lay Badaki's skin over a stand-in digital model of the actress. Visual effects supervisor David Stump, who worked with Haug, was also able to hack the digital camera footage to get even higher resolution imagery, allowing the character to appear photoreal, even as Bilquis filled her vagina with a fresh human sacrifice.