It’s been under a week since Sorry to Bother You hit theaters, but the spoiler floodgates have already come crashing down. Here at Inverse we did our best to give you a spoiler-free look at this wildly inventive and politically potent new movie, but we’ve been chomping at the bit to offer up some exclusive spoilers of our own.
Hold your horses! Sorry to Bother You spoilers ahead.
Ok, is everyone who hasn’t seen the movie yet (or doesn’t care about spoilers) gone? Good. Let’s get it out of the way then. In Sorry to Bother You’s final act, there’s a shocking revelation: WorryFree (the fictional company that’s using slave labor to revive the American economy) has a new plan to turn its workers into powerful horse-human hybrids called Equisapians.
The Equisapian character design is particularly interesting. They’re monstrous, humanoid creatures with terrifying faces and “giant horse penises.” (Hey, I’m just quoting the movie here.) So, for a little clarification, Inverse turned to Sorry to Bother You’s makeup department head Kirsten Coleman, who revealed that the entire look came directly from director Boots Riley’s brain.
“The Equisapians were fully realized and designed before I even came on the project,” Coleman tells Inverse via email, “as Boots had such a clear vision for such an integral part of the film.”
One place where Coleman did get to exert some creative influence was when the protagonist Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield) transforms into an Equisapian at the end of the movie. It’s a surprise twist that comes several scenes after he rejects WorryFree’s offer to transform him into the Martin Luther King Jr. of Equisapians. (Yes, that really did happen).
Here’s Coleman on what went into showing Stanfield’s character mid-transformation as his nostrils flare dramatically in the film’s final moments:
“We wanted to show the beginning transformation of Cassius Green turning into an Equisapian. As the department head, I hired a local FX sculptor to take Lakeith’s face mold, sculpt it, and apply the finished application on the day. We de-evolved the nose by referencing the completed Equisapian design, then we created the beginning stages of what the facial transformation process would look like. Boots felt that the nose would be the most pronounced feature that would begin transforming first. Personally, I think it is funny and a nod to the propaganda around the anti-drug campaigns considering Cassius Green supposedly snorted ‘spiked’ cocaine and it is the direct cause of the genetic transformation.”
If you stuck around through the credits, you know that his character eventually makes the full transformation into Equisapian and gets his revenge on Worry Free’s CEO. As for the giant horse penis, Sorry to Bother You never reveals whether that part comes true for Stanfield’s character, and, unfortunately, Coleman wouldn’t comment on it either. So you’ll just have to use your imagination.