How Thing was brought to life for Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’

The cast of Netflix’s smash hit Wednesday has won the hearts of its nearly countless fans, but perhaps no member has done so quite so handily as Wednesday’s sidekick/chaperon, Thing. The disembodied hand has won its way into the hearts of yet another generation of fans but it’s also left them asking the question, just how are the filmmakers doing that?

Netflix’s latest post to its official Twitter account offers the explanation fans have been looking for. The answer is a little bit of practical acting, with just a touch of CGI. But in this case, the CGI is removing what was already there instead of adding any extra effects. And what’s being removed is the body of Romanian magician Victor Dorobantu.

“It’s just like working with another actor,” Jenna Ortega, who plays Wednesday, explained in the featurette. “You’re reacting and he’s ‘speaking’, he’s signing.” That said, Dorobantu had no previous acting experience prior to signing on to portray Thing. Director Tim Burton and the VFX team specifically sought out someone who was, well, good with their hands, so to speak. Dorobantu, who specializes in sleight of hand, proved a natural fit.

Although some versions of Thing in the series are pure CGI, the technique was only used when no other scenario proved workable, with Dorobantu’s acting being the preferred version used throughout the show. Dorobantu wore a full-blue bodysuit that FX artists were able to render out in post-production. His hand’s natural appearance was also augmented by makeup, including the scars which are unique to this version of the character, and a prosthetic known as “the stump” which gives Thing its severed appearance.

“The VFX guys, me, we all tried to make a teamwork for Thing,” Dorobantu says in the featurette. “and what ended up looking like, it’s awesome.”