We were ready for anything with season 7 of Game of Thrones. Well, nearly everything. Hordes of White Walkers, check. Epic battles between the Lannister army and the Dothraki, check. Dragon mayhem, check.
We must admit though that the zombie polar bear in the "Beyond the Wall" episode took us by surprise. The beast pounced savagely on the 'suicide squad' led by Jon Snow, in a sequence reminiscent of the bear encounter in Lost. HBO recently released a short clip revisiting the scene, with the episode's director, Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) talking through the process.
In this video, we learn that the actors were standing in front of three layers of green screen, to better render the perspective of the icy wilderness. The bear itself was, of course, a CGI construct. Joe Bauer, the guy in charge of special effects explains: "You're out there and you have something, it's out there and you don't know where it's gonna come from... it's very much like a shark attack."
The funniest bit is the "big guy in a green suit" brandishing a torch, who's supposed to play the bear when The Hound is scared to death.
It's nearly as good as Daenerys atop her green cart that's supposed to be Drogon. Once again, the Game of Thrones team shows they can master CGI like no other and that the last season, with its fifteen million dollars per episode budget, promises to be mind-boggling