**SPOILER WARNING: This story reveals some plot details about Bird Box. Stop reading if you haven't seen the film.**
One of the biggest strengths of the sight-deprived hellscape that is Netflix’s Bird Box is that its creatures — the ones that make their victims see their worst nightmares and kill themselves — are invisible. It makes the film much scarier and the tension (a la A Quiet Place) much higher, since the audience has to use as much terrifying imagination as the film’s characters. But it wasn’t always going to be like that. Apparently there was a version of the film that showed one of the creatures, but it was simply too goofy to allow in the final product.
According to Bloody Disgusting, Bird Box (and Arrival) screenwriter Eric Heisserer was pushed by producers to write a scene that revealed the tormenting creatures. “There was a time when one of the producers was like, ‘No, you have to see something at some point,’ and forced me to write essentially a nightmare sequence where Malorie experiences one in that house,” Heisserer said, referring to scenes where lead star Sandra Bullock's character is trapped in a house with a bevy of strangers.
And then director Susanne Bier actually shot it. Everyone bowed to the creative demands at the top, but one A-lister wasn’t having it. Bullock had a hard time keeping it together when they brought out the creature prop, explaining to Bloody Disgusting that the design “was a green man with a horrific baby face.”
“It was snake-like," Bullock said, “and I was like, ‘I don’t want to see it when it first happens. Just bring it into the room. We’ll shoot the scene.’ I turn and he’s like [growling at me]. It’s making me laugh. It was just a long fat baby.”
Oof. Nothing’s scarier than the earthworm in James and the Giant Peach, except possibly every other creature in film history.
“It so easily becomes funny,” Bier said of the snake-baby (baby-snake?). “We actually shot that and spent a lot of energy on it, but every time I saw it, I was like, this is not going to be tense. At first, Sandy was like, ‘I don’t want to see it’ because she thought it was scary. Then it was like, ‘Don’t show it to me because [I’ll laugh].’ Every time I did it, I was like, ‘S***, that’s a different film’.”
“I’m so sorry you had to shoot that,” Heisserer told her in the interview. “We’re going to deliver it to Saturday Night Live,” Bier said.
Thankfully, fans were saved from the experience and can hopefully remove the image of the squirming green snake baby from their heads when watching the spooky film. Hopefully.
Bird Box is on Netflix now.