This story contains minor spoilers for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Raccacoonie’s appearance in Everything Everywhere All at Once was one of the film’s highlights and a major talking point… and it turns out he was using a very deceased real raccoon.
During an interview with The Ringer, makeup and effects supervisor Jason Hamer revealed how he made the incredible Raccacoonie prop.
“Guys were like, ‘Think cheap. We don’t want it to look good. It should look clunky, like bad taxidermy.'” The idea was to make Raccacoonie look on a shoestring budget… but Hamer took their direction a bit too literally and used raccoon taxidermy as the basis for his animatronic raccoon.
Raccacoonie is first mentioned in a hilarious gag when Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) misremembers the title of the Pixar classic, Ratatouille. But later, Everything Everywhere All at Once uses this weird gag to illustrate the expanse of the multiverse.
“The idea that everything she did wrong was real was a really exciting way to explore the multiverse,” co-director Daniel Scheinert said in an interview with Vulture. “That’s always when we know a joke will be worth pursuing – when the idea is so ridiculous we can’t stop thinking about it.”
In the end, Raccacoonie made it into the movie…but the directors didn’t want it to be perfect. “That was one of the challenges,” Hamer said. “The boys [were] go, ‘Cheap and fast and dirty.’ And I go, ‘No. Cool and beautiful and funny!”
Of course, the logistics were… tricky. “You have to think about the challenges of, you have an actor and we have to get it on its head,” he said. “Are we going to make puppet arms? Are we going to make it an animatronic?
In the end, the taxidermy raccoon was used as a skeleton for an intricate animatronic system… while the exterior was as lo-fi as it gets. Hamer himself is renowned for his flawless makeup and effects, having been nominated for an Emmy for his work on Westworld. So how do you hold back the instinct to make it better?
“It doesn’t go as far as you’d like to go, it’s basically what it is,” he said. “It takes less time to blend hair or paint on fur.”
The end result is an utterly charming (and hilarious) take on a Pixar classic that became a great subplot in the film as Evelyn helps Chief Chad (Harry Shum Jr.) save his raccoon friend. who speaks. Quite a step forward for a taxidermied raccoon.
Everything Everywhere, Everything At Once stars Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr, James Hong and Jamie Lee Curtis. The film was written and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment reporter and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.