The new Netflix series Sweet Tooth centers on a post-apocalyptic world where a boy who’s half-human and half-deer searches for a new beginning with a gruff protector. Suffice it to say that the creative team behind the highly anticipated adaptation of Jeff Lemire’s 2009 comic book of the same name had to go to great lengths to get the look and the feel of this unique universe just right. Now that Sweet Tooth is streaming worldwide, we wanted to share 16 behind-the-scenes facts about the making of this one-of-a-kind series.
Married producing team Susan and Robert Downey Jr. executive produced Sweet Tooth. “The comics had this scope and emotional breadth of storytelling, and the characters were just so engaging,” the Oscar-nominated actor says. “We wanted to make a great co-viewing experience for parents and kids.”
To prepare for his role as Gus, Christian Convery trained in parkour. He’s been training for over two years now and loves it.
The creative team worked with climate change consultants to help craft the world of Sweet Tooth realistically.
The creative team was heavily inspired by Jim Henson and wanted to make every element of the show look as practical and handmade as possible, including the hybrid puppets. All of the baby hybrids shown in Episode 101 are real puppets.
To transform the young actors into baby hybrids, hair and makeup designer Stefan Knight and team crafted very small, delicate prosthetics that focused on key physical elements that defined each individual animal.
The character Bobby is a real animatronic puppet that had to be carefully controlled by multiple puppeteers and a harness system.
Gus’ deer ears are practical, and their movement was controlled by puppeteer Grant Lehmann through a handheld transmitter.
Convery and Lehmann would rehearse together to get the ear movement timing just right. Lehmann had to be so in sync with Convery’s facial expressions during filming, he couldn’t just watch him on the monitors because of the 300 millisecond delay. Lehmann had to physically follow Convery around as he filmed so he could have the ears react in time.
Gus’ hearing is so sensitive, if you watch closely you can see that his ears are always the first part of him to react — even before his eyes move.
Director of photography Dave Garbett and director Jim Mickle were heavily influenced by the Steven Spielberg films E.T. and Jurassic Park.
The train sequence in Episode 6 is an homage to the famous opening train sequence in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
The Essex County Zoo is a small nod to Jeff Lemire’s Essex County graphic novel.
Gus’ red plaid shirt is an homage to the character’s signature look in the comics. It took costume designer Amanda Neale seven weeks to find the right shirt, and she looked all around the world before finding just the right pattern and color scheme.
Amanda Neale designed 46 concepts for General Abbot’s costuming before landing on a final look.
The Animal Army headquarters scenes were actually filmed at a real amusement park called Rainbow’s End in New Zealand.
Orange is woven throughout the costuming and production design in the series to balance out the dark greens and browns of nature and a dystopian future. The color adds an optimistic pop, and is meant to symbolize hope.