Jonathan Nolan explains some of the best parts of filming the Fallout series, 'we stuck human fingers in the mouth of the Gulper'

Two people looking at a camera
(Image credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

It's tough work adapting a beloved game like Fallout to a TV series. With almost 30 years of games, lore, and players with hundreds of hours getting everything just right, director Jonathan Nolan certainly had his work cut out for him when filming for the upcoming TV show began. 

"We really wanted to have a high level of fidelity to the costumes and props," Nolan explains to me during an interview. "We looked at all the games, but we looked at Fallout 4, probably more than any of the other games." 

In the first few episodes, you get to see tons of new locations like Vault 33, the city of Filly, which is just a big junkyard and what's left of the greater Los Angeles in 2296, and even the Brotherhood of Steel's headquarters. The props and costumes that everyone wears really do look like they were pulled out of the apocalypse, but specifically Fallout's version of it. Stimpacks are floating around along with lockpicks and ammo in the convenience shop in Filly and T-60 armour shut away in a maintenance shed on the outskirts of the Brotherhood's settlement. 

Power Armour suit standing in a red room

(Image credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

But not every prop is as easy to get right as a RadAway pack or a vault boy bobblehead. While I didn't get another glimpse of this creature in the first few episodes, the Gulper does make a quick appearance in the trailer, and this monstrosity looks like just the right amount of disgusting for Fallout with its fleshy pink spikes and… human fingers for teeth?

"There are two things that I'm quite proud of," Nolan says. "One, we stuck human fingers in the mouth of the Gulper, which was an early idea. There's some things as a director that you pitch and everyone kind of nods like, 'ah, yeah, okay, that's gross. Let's not do that.' But as we got deeper into filming, Graham and Geneva were both like, 'What about that weird finger idea you had?'" I definitely didn't expect human fingers in the Gulpers' mouth, but it does explain why the tendrils twitch so strangely.

The team working on the series also had their work cut out for them when it came to the iconic T-60 armour, which Maximus pilots in the second episode. While it looks indistinguishable from the game's suit, there are a couple of differences.

"My second idea was to lightly modify the T-60 to accommodate the fact that I was concerned that the jetpack sequence in which it lands and departs from Filly would look clunky, phony, and goofy," Nolan explains. The VFX team could do a great rendition of the suit, but what was challenging was all the interactive stuff when the jetpack hits the dirt and blows bits of tin cans or whatever. I just knew that it would never look quite right."

So, the solution to this problem was to hire a team that had an experimental jetpack. With their help flying the prototype around the set, the team was able to capture all of the right footage of dust and debris flying around in the air as Maximus piloted the T-60 around Filly. "But that meant incorporating jets into the sleeves of the T-60," Nolan continues. "I called Todd to say, 'Hey, is that cool? Because it's gonna look a lot cooler.' And luckily, they were very supportive."

It's hard to find fault with the updated version of the T-60. From the first moment I saw the Brotherhood of Steel Knights walk across the tarmac wearing these suits to the bloodthirsty fight with the Yao Guai and the battle in Filly during the second episode, every scene this armour was in was incredibly cool. It's everything you could want to see in a live-action Fallout show, and now it won't be too long till we see it in the irradiated flesh.

News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.