After Life: Ricky Gervais series baffles viewers with bizarre ‘superimposed head’ shot

Scene appeared to show actor Kerry Godliman’s head pasted onto a different woman’s body

Adam White
Monday 27 April 2020 16:28
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Fans left baffled by 'superimposed head' shot in Ricky Gervais drama After Life

Viewers of Ricky Gervais’s Netflix black comedy series After Life have been left baffled by a shot that appears to show a “superimposed head” placed over one of its stars.

The hit series stars Gervais as a man who contemplates suicide after his wife dies of breast cancer. Kerry Godliman plays his wife, Lisa, who appears in visions and flashbacks.

The fifth episode of the show’s second season, which arrived on Netflix last week (24 April), has inspired more unease than dark laughs, however – with a specific shot dubbed “cursed” and earning comparisons to David Lynch.

The scene sees Gervais’s character reminiscing about Lisa swimming in the local ponds, with a shot appearing to show Godliman’s smiling and blinking face superimposed over the head of a different woman.

The moment was spotted by writer and voiceover artist Sarah Sumeray, who tweeted: “HAS KERRY GODLIMAN’S HEAD BEEN SUPERIMPOSED ONTO SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY???”

She was joined by others in confusion, one follower tweeting: “This is cursed, burn it”, and another adding: “Is this a joke?”

One even compared the shot to a famous scene from David Lynch’s 2006 film Inland Empire, which depicts Laura Dern maniacally smiling.

Other viewers have complained that the shot threw off what was otherwise a brilliant series.

Despite praising the second season as “utter genius”, one fan confessed that he was “haunted by the CGI swimming Kerry Godliman at the start of episode five”.

After Life producer Charlie Hanson cleared up the matter, however, tweeting that the shot was in fact genuine and not performed with any CGI trickery, despite the odd visual effect.

“Fake News!,” Hanson wrote. “@KerryAGodliman is a very good swimmer, and this shot was filmed in mid September in the ponds on Hampstead Heath using @rickygervais iPhone. The iPhone uses auto exposure and it was a dull day, so her face looks overexposed against the dark water. End of scoop!

After Life’s second season is streaming on Netflix now.

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