Last of Us Episode 5 required 65 prosthetics artists and a 6'6" stunt performer

A Bloater in The Last of Us episode 5
(Image credit: HBO)

Spoiler alert: this story may include spoilers for HBO Max's The Last of Us so only proceed if you've seen Episode 5!

Thanks to the Super Bowl, the Last of Us episode 5 arrived early this week. And if you finished it wondering how on earth they managed to make that swarm of infected and Clickers look so horrifyingly real - not to mention that terrifying Bloater - HBO has pulled back the curtain with its latest instalment of Inside the Episode.

Whilst the phenomenal prosthetics work is detailed a little in the featurette, Variety gave us a thrilling behind-the-scenes peek at what exactly goes into bringing Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic shooter to life, revealing that the 6'6" British actor, Adam Basil, playing the Bloater did so wearing an 88-pound suit.

“We had a whole copy of his body that we modeled the bloater prosthetics over in modeling clay,” prosthetics designer, Barrie Gower, explained. “We cast it out of a foam rubber and foam latex, which is very lightweight. It’s almost like an upholstery foam, a very spongy sort of material. That was all molded and cast in separate sections: top half, head, arms, legs. We had a team who fabricated all these parts together. We had a zipper up the back and around the waist that we could zip them together. He had all these pendulous folds of fungus which hid zippers and poppers."

"The suit would be very soft, but very slimy and wet,” Gower added. “We covered him in this gel-like solution, which gave him a gloss to all the fungus. We had lots of little spines and spiky hairs punched into his body, like little growths burrowing out. 

"To get the shapes to read, we had to cover them in a gloss. It was like a texture that we were building up, so we were constantly going in and slathering them in this gloss, just so the shapes would pick up in the silhouettes. We were repeatedly going in and gelling him up more, covering him in this lube so he was nice and shiny.”

Obviously, the Bloater wasn't the only infected we saw pop up in this week's episode. 65 prosthetics artists worked with 50-ish extras and 10-15 stunt performers for several hours to prepare them for the nighttime shoot. 

The Last of Us' Pedro Pascal recently took over hosting duties on Saturday Night Live and marked the show's rip-roaring success with a spoof teaser for another video game adaptation inspired by the HBO show – one inspired by Super Mario Bros (opens in new tab).

The sincerely spectacular three-minute teaser goes on to reveal that the cargo is Princess Peach herself. Expect to see a kart, numerous memorable enemies, Luigi, and even Bowser himself as it progresses, accompanied by a foreboding remix of the Mario franchise's iconic music. 

For more on all things The Last of Us, check out our guide to The Last of Us episode 5 (opens in new tab) and find out why we think it's "undoubtedly the most explosive installment of the HBO adaptation yet" - even if it did take some creative liberties as it adapts the middle section of the beloved PlayStation game, as did Episode 3.

The Last of Us continues on Sundays on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and Sky Atlantic and NOW TV the following day in the UK. Make sure you never miss an episode by checking out our The Last of Us release schedule (opens in new tab) and our breakdown of how many episodes are in The Last of Us (opens in new tab)

If you can't get enough of video game adaptations, here's our roundup of all the upcoming video game movies (opens in new tab).

Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.