One of the hottest new trends in motion picture digital effects is de-aging. From blockbuster examples like several recent MCU entries to Martin Scorsese‘s upcoming Oscar hopeful The Irishman where Robert De Niro and Al Pacino will play both old and young versions of their characters, movie technology is boasting convincing examples of providing older actors a fountain of youth.
Will Smith‘s latest, however, isn’t one of those movies.
Yes, in Gemini Man, the new film from two-time Academy Award winning director Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Brokeback Mountain), Will Smith plays an aging assassin who is being hunted down by a genetic clone of his younger self (also played by Smith).
After the movie’s first trailer debuted, a natural assumption was that this was another example of de-aging VFX, but this new featurette shows that assumption to be false. Instead, the 90-second behind-the-scenes video clarifies (and visualizes) that this is a fully animated and digitized effect of the younger Smith, with Smith’s performance coming through motion capture technology rather than de-aging.
To the extent you find it convincing speaks to the leaps that mo-cap has made, especially in eliminating the dead-eyed Uncanny Valley problem. You can see the process described in the above video.
Co-starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong, and produced by action guru Jerry Bruckheimer, Gemini Man opens this fall on October 11, 2019.
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