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The Snakes, Ravens, Vikings & The Flooding
"I come out of grittier subject matters, documentaries and independent films, and one of the things I like to think that I'm bringing to this is the realism,” says director David Cunningham "It's a fantasy and realism movie with an emphasis on realism. So, instead of heavy CGI (computer generated imagery), we're doing a lot of things for real. We're about to spend a week and a half in the Great Hall set doing some pretty cool things, people flying up in the air, getting bashed against walls, using horses - all kinds of stuff.”

Making fantasy real was the task of all who crewed THE SEEKER. Viking fights, floods, crows, snakes and stunts were just a few of the elements required. As the director put it, "When you blow up a car for real wild stuff happens. The blast goes this way and maybe a camera gets smashed and you get a cool shot and someone has to dive out of the way, and it's like, 'Whoa! I just captured a great moment.' So I'm leaning in on my strengths of being able to try and use the real thing.”

According to Conroy, Cunningham's desire for veracity means the film, although it is a fantasy, is also very human. "I think that David is keeping the special effects down to the most human level he can, which I think is nice because then it's not virtual, it's real. There's flesh and blood behind it all and I think that makes a difference. I think even the sets make a difference that way. They won't be totally computer-generated sets. And both for the people existing within the world, and the people watching it, I think that there will be a visceral reaction to the reality of it, a three dimensional quality to it.”

This philosophy applied to the snake scene where Will is pursued by a giant albino cobra. 1000 live snakes, some thirteen feet long, were brought in from the Czech Republic – enough to fill half of a massive church. Specialist snake handler Jules Sylvester of Reptile Rentals – and veteran of some 350 films - was brought on board to wrangle the snakes for the scene. 

The reptilian stars of the show are the exotic white python and the de-venomized rattlesnake whom Sylvester says is "a beautiful snake" who "is so friendly, it's almost embarrassing. He doesn't do what rattlesnakes do. Rattlesnakes are usually trying to kill you. This one just sort of hangs out and says, ‘Hey, how's it going?' So he's very relaxed. Very Hollywood.” 

To contain the snakes, Cunningham put his team to work, creating a kind of "snake space” to hold them in place. "We've designed a special floor in the church that will hopefully keep all the snakes in one place,” Cunningham laughs, "We'll find out if that's true. They're not venomous, but they're still snakes so that will be interesting. Then we have a real albino cobra that's absolutely beautiful.”

The film's stars were able to keep their cool around their slithery co-stars. Alexander effused that "it was really cool seeing a thousand snakes in this big pile and right before David says ‘action', there's a snake crawling through your leg. So you have to grab it and put it back into the pile.” 

McShane was equally as enthusiastic about working with the snakes. "There were about twelve hundred of them,” says McShane. "I grew fond of the snakes. I've never worked with them before. They were nice, you know? I was especially fond of this big python. He was this thirty footer. But they are very heavy. And I had these two that just kept looking at me...”

And Conroy was less enthusiastic but – as usual rose to the task. "I had a snake around my neck,” says Conroy. "First they put a big rubber one around my neck because it was a really, real looking snake. And then they put the real 30-foot python around my neck. So the snakes were interesting.”

In THE SEEKER - ravens inhabit the world of darkness, at least in a mythical sense. Several scenes involve the ominous<

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