Behind the scenes of Fantastic Beasts: Gnarlak

The owner of the speakeasy The Blind Pig is played by the inimitable Ron Perlman in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Here’s how he transformed into his goblin character.

Gnarlak, Tina and Newt in The Blind Pig
Ron Perlman as Gnarlak and Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein.

Ron Perlman is an actor used to having his features transformed into one creature or another, having previously starred as the beast of TV’s Beauty and the Beast as well as Hellboy in two big screen movies. But to play Gnarlak, The Blind Pig’s goblin boss, Perlman was spared hours in the makeup trailer as both his face and performance were recorded via motion capture by the VFX department, although Christian Manz and company were determined to feed as much of the actor’s look and personality into the computer generated Gnarlak as possible.

During filming, the six-foot-one Perlman acted out his scenes in a scaled space with Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston and the rest of the human-sized cast sitting up on wooden boxes to make him feel small and to ensure everyone’s eyeline was correct.

Behind the scenes of Fantastic Beasts: Gnarlak
Layouts © HarperCollins Publishers/© WBEI. (s18) Case of Beasts

‘He’s got a certain swagger about him,’ muses Perlman of his four-foot-high goblin. ‘He’s got to be one of the smartest guys in the room. He uses intelligence for unsavoury ends. He knows the playing field and, like most con men, he knows how to spot people’s weakness and exploit them for his own benefit.’

Gnarlak motion capture concepts
Layouts © HarperCollins Publishers/© WBEI. (s18) Case of Beasts

Many of the magical denizens of The Blind Pig – goblins, giants etc – were created by the VFX department using stand-ins and doubles on set to capture their movements and personality, information that would then be used as the basis of their digital counterparts.

Read more behind-the-scenes facts in The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, from HarperCollins.