Graphic of a two-headed lizard from eXistenZ

Transcript: eXistenZ: Gristle Gun and Chinese Restaurant

STEPHAN DUPUIS: The famous Chinese restaurant sequence. That was pretty elaborate. What was happening is that Jude was constructing this gun out of chicken bones. Or what looked like chicken bones. That thing shot teeth. The Chinese waiter comes over and he shoots him and it grazes his cheek and takes part of the ear off. And, of course, he gets pissed. He takes out the meat cleaver and Jude throws the soup right into his face, and then manages to shoot his face off. O.K.?

So you had all these elements. And I said, “Well, we can’t put explosives with our normal squibs onto somebody’s face. That’s way too dangerous.” Especially with an explosion of that magnitude. You could imagine. Plus, you want to keep the actor’s mobility. You don't want a dummy there. It’s like, “BOOM!” Then the face explodes.

What I did is on the original actor, for the whole sequence, [was that] he was wearing appliances covering his own ears. We flattened down his ears. So he was actually wearing fake ears and a wig right from the start to widen his head a little bit. But not so that it looked weird. And then underneath one side, there was a rig that was basically air-compressed. It was a bladder that I made and in that tube was inserted blood gel. Gel blood and some blood in the tube so then when you pushed the trigger, it just shot out of the appliance, and it was just air. It didn’t hurt anybody. It just shot out this part and this part. Then, when we got that part done, there was the soup in the face.

What I did for the part where he shoots his face off [was] I took a cast of the actor. This time with this expression on his face. (GRIMACES) Like this. And it was basically a whole appliance like a mask that went over his own face. His face was at repose underneath. So the fake face came on and it had two plugs and again, a system of bladders that went underneath, filled with blood gel that went behind his neck. O.K.?

Bob Hall was controlling that. We worked together on this. And it was filled with the blood gel. Then, when it came time to raise his arm like this, and “BLAM!” The whole face explodes. Without hurting the guy underneath at all, because there was a plastic vacuform covering his face and that fake face was on top. So that’s how it was done.