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LADY IN THE WATER

The Guardians Of The Blue World
Like the legend of the The Blue World, the creatures who serve as guardians between it and the human world are inventions of M. Night Shyamalan's imagination. "It was fun to create something entirely new, that doesn't have its roots in anything else,” he says. "I had to figure out how these creatures could exist without us noticing or knowing about them. So the trees and the grass became elemental places for me to start.”

Shyamalan brought creature designer and illustrator Mark "Crash” McCreery (The Village, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Van Helsing) aboard as he was writing the second draft of the screenplay. "Crash is an incredibly brilliant guy and I trust him implicitly,” Shyamalan says. "A lot of what he drew really inspired me – as I was working on the script and throughout the making of the movie. We had his pictures up in the editing room to remind us of the beauty and the scariness and the feel that we were trying to create.”

Unbeknownst to the tenants, living in the untamed meadow at the edge of The Cove is the Scrunt, a fierce and formidable beast on a mission to stop Narfs like Story from moving safely around the human world – and to prevent them from ever returning home. Spiky blades of grass protrude from its back and help the Scrunt camouflage itself in the lawn. A mere scratch from a Scrunt infects its prey with deadly poison called Kii (pronounced "key”) that slowly saps the life from its victim.

"I loved Night's idea that this creature could drop down into the grass and seemingly disappear,” McCreery says. "There is a feral wildness to the Scrunt, but it was also important for us to portray the creature as having a kind of concentrated intelligence. It's not just a beast blindly smashing through doors. It's very cunning and stealthy.”

The only entity that the Scrunt fears is the Tartutic, three simian-like creatures who form an invincible force that maintains law and order in The Blue World. "These three beings are so evil, they killed their parents on the night they were born,” says Shyamalan of the fearsome threesome, whose bark-and-branch-like exterior enables them to conceal themselves in trees. "Fear of the Tartutic has upheld the laws in The Blue World for centuries. No living creature has ever seen the Tartutic, because if you see them, that means you've broken the law and are going to be killed.”

The Great Eatlon serves the greater good of The Blue World – and ours. With its 40-foot wingspan, this majestic creature is the last of an otherwise extinct race of giant eagles who transport Narfs from the human realm to The Blue World. If Story is to return home and assume her destiny to save the world as a Madam Narf, Cleveland and the tenants must help her take flight with the Great Eatlon.

All of these unique creatures were brought to life for the film through a combination of practical special effects and CGI. Cinematic creature effects specialists Spectral Motion Inc. devised 3D animatronic versions of the Scrunt and the Tartutic that were used during physical production. An aluminum casing housed the mechanized creatures' electronic interiors, which had to be waterproofed for the film's numerous rain sequences before being sheathed in foam latex skin.

The fully functional Scrunts were capable of walking, running and conveying a wide range of facial expressions – produced through the collective performance of four to six Spectral Motion puppeteers operating a computer console and remote controls. The number of puppeteers operating the Scrunt depended upon the complexity of the shot and the action called for in Shyamalan's script. One puppeteer each was dedicated to the ears, mouth and eyes, with another operator controlling the overall body movement via the computer.

The Tartutic was played by three actors, each out

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