Minority Report’s gruesome missing eye effect apparently was achieved using a roast chicken. Released in 2002, the film tells the story of a dystopian future where the police can predict murders. The Tom Cruise sci-fi noir was a commercial success and marked the first of two notable collaborations between Steven Spielberg and Cruise.

An adaptation of the classic sci-fi book by Phillip K. Dick, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report takes place in a not-too-distant future in which police have used children called “precogs” to prevent murders. During a tumultuous time in which the integrity of the system is called into question by the government, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) finds his faith in the system put to the test when the precogs say he will murder a man named Leo Crow. What ensues is a race against time to figure out who Leo Crow is and prevent the murder from taking place. However, Anderton has his own demons to face, and he copes with them by spending his nights taking drugs purchased from a blind drug dealer in a Washington D.C. alley.


Now we know how one of the film’s most subtle (and creepiest) visual effects came to life. In a recent appearance on the Corridor Crew YouTube channel, former ILM artist Alex Laurant broke down his work on Minority Report and revealed how a chicken played a major role in the removal of the drug dealer’s eyes at the beginning of the movie. Laurant used reference materials and sculpting clay to model sample eye sockets but found himself dissatisfied with the results. To remedy this, he went to his kitchen and used the skin from a roast chicken to achieve an adequately gruesome approximation of the inside of a human eye socket. The result was so good that the photoshopped mockup ended up in the film.

Though it’s a small and relatively subtle moment in the film, the removal of the eyes was important from a thematic perspective. Eyes and the concept of sight are recurring motifs throughout Minority Report’s runtime, from the precogs ability to see the future to the prevalence of retinal scanners, plus John Anderton literally replacing his own eyes to gain access to his former police precinct. Blindness serves a thematic role in the story so the planting of the no-eyed drug dealer at the start of the movie serves a fundamental (and haunting) storytelling purpose. These themes would be explored further when Minority Report eventually received a TV-based sequel series.

All in all, the result is something spectacular. To this very day, Minority Report contains some of the best visual effects of Steven Spielberg’s career. Not only was he able to revolutionize computer-generated effects when he brought Jurassic Park to the masses in 1993, but he clearly continued to refine his skills as a visual storyteller and evolve as he made his way to Minority Report. Whether it’s a set of missing eyes or a sci-fi highway for Tom Cruise to pull off some insane stunts, the film remains a landmark moment in the world of VFX.

Source: Corridor Crew

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