Ready to Pop: Imagining the Deados
This concept of Deados is one that is new to the R.I.P.D. mythology. Devised by Schwentke, Hay and Manfredi, the idea introduces a new type of threat to humanity -- aside from the hideous demons featured in the graphic novels -- one that would allow crossover between our worlds. The writers and directors felt as if this conceit would add another layer to the film's apocalyptic showdown.
Essentially hell-bound souls who refuse to walk toward the light and cross over to the other side, Deados choose instead to hide out in the real world as long as they possibly can. Explains Manfredi: "We wanted to keep the Deados, our villains, as humans for a while and then expose them. We had this concept of someone who dies and doesn't want to go to the afterlife and thought it was more appropriate for our story to show what happens if you're supposed to die and you don't: Your soul could manifest itself in this bizarre fashion."
Although Deados are able to conceal themselves in human form and hide in plain sight, their souls begin to decay and emit a "soul stank," a phrase that originated with Schwentke. The longer a tortured soul remains on Earth, the more its evil metaphysical mojo begins to pervade its surroundings and affect the cosmic balance.
Enter the R.I.P.D. to round them up to face Judgment.
By ostensibly correcting any shifts and ensuring the (super)natural order between the living and the dead remains neutral, the universe remains harmonious. But once Roy and Nick realize the Deados have banded together with a diabolical plan that could topple the delicate balance between the two planes, the two cops realize that the fine agents of the R.I.P.D. are the only ones who can stop the universe from collapsing.
It would be up to production designer Alec Hammond, creature designers CRASH McCREERY and EDDIE YANG and VFX producer JULIETTE YAGER to design the looks for dozens of Deados once they "popped," or had their true nature revealed. Given unlimited opportunities via digital imagery, they dreamed of creating a multitude of menacing, evil and often humorous-looking creatures. However, there was one simple rule to follow: A "popped" Deado had to be reminiscent of its real-life counterpart, and it would outwardly appear as an exaggerated manifestation of its crime against humanity. For example, if he was a thief as a human, the monstrous Deado would appear with giant hands once his true nature was revealed.
Even when it came to creating an environment for the Deados, regardless of which plane they existed on, Hammond wanted to be specific about his approach: "It was important to contrast the Deado world with where they come from because Deados come from our own existence. They can be the mailman who delivers the mail or the person who gives you the coffee on the corner. It has to feel like it could be anybody. There might be something slightly off, but really they're hiding in plain sight."
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