The actor explained that he made sure to breathe with his mouth closed after getting a mouthful of husks during his first attempt to enter the pit. “The first time I’m just going to go for it, I get in there and feel the space and I took [in] a mouthful of this corn husk,” he recalled. He admitted that, since he’s not claustrophobic, he found the filming process “cool,” but that he recognized that “it was a pretty traumatic scene, as much as it comes off a little funny with the physical aspects.” The final edit certainly bears this out; as someone who grew up in a farming family and heard horror stories about silo-related deaths, I was grimacing my way through the whole sequence.

Irby noted that for audiences, the scene takes a sudden turn, as the fun-loving criminals are totally surprised by the twist of fate. “It’s a very high celebratory moment that wags the dog on us,” he said. “We’re all looking one way, and then all of a sudden the ground falls out from beneath us.” To achieve the effect of Cristobal looking mostly buried, Irby described a contraption that sounds as much like a magic trick as a practical effect set piece. “There was a little box they had built at the bottom of this sand, and it had a very thick, heavy rubber wetsuit,” he said. “They had cut five or six slits in it, so the sand would stay on top, but when I got my legs through there, I could kind of reverse birth and go back into the womb.”