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The Whale

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NotAgain42
PERFORMER Bill Bailey
DEBUT 2005
DESIGN Dave Dunsterville designer

The Whale appeared in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This large sperm whale comes into existence when the Improbability Drive transforms a nuclear missile. The aquatic mammal ponders the questions of his existence and his physicality for a very brief period. As he plummets to his death, his final thought is the cheerful expectation that the ground will be friends with him.

A highly detailed model sperm whale was created and filmed in free fall. Jim Henson's Creature Shop built an 11-foot-long model of the typically 50-foot-long marine mammal. According to director Garth Jennings in the official presskit, "The whale that the Creature Shop created was truly beautiful... We shot it with an in-camera effect so it looks like it’s falling through the sky, and later we added just a couple of effects shots. But essentially the whole whale sequence was shot in camera. It looks so realistic—to me it’s as if we had a skydiver trying to film the whale as he was plummeting with it!"

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