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by Lamont Mattocks (2019-08-01)


Movie star Will Smith will battle a younger version of himself in new sci-fi action thriller by using de-ageing technology to make him look like a young man.

Filmmakers say the new film represents Hollywood's biggest leap forward yet into futuristic computer generated imagery. 

In Gemini Man, the actor, 50, plays both lead roles - a middle-aged assassin and the youthful clone called Junior, who has been sent to kill him.

De-ageing is an increasingly common visual effects technique used to make an actor look younger, especially for flashback scenes.  

But rather than a simple form of airbrushing, the younger Smith in Paramount's film is entirely built with special effects - right down to his eerily realistic pores, sinews and blood vessels. 

Lee said that the are not 'de-ageing, but rather, creating a new character, a youthful Will Smith.

In order to make the character ultra-realistic, Weta the visual effects company also pulled out old footage from Smith's days starring on the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the Nineties TV sitcom, to study his early 'less sophisticated' performances. 

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Will Smith does battle with a younger clone of himself in new sci-fi action thriller 'Gemini Man,' which filmmakers say represents Hollywood's biggest leap forward yet into futuristic computer generated imagery

HOW DID THEY DE-AGE WILL SMITH?
Smith and stunt doubles acted out the younger character's part in motion-capture suits before the visual effects were applied on top of their movements.

Filmmakers went through old photographs and footage of Smith from his twenties - the age of his character's clone 'Junior' in the film - including 'Bad Boys' and 'Independence Day.'

They studied the morphology of aging, and looked at human anatomy from how facial muscles interact right down to the microscopic level of skin pores and melanin pigment.

With expanding budgets and technological advancements, it is an increasingly used effect in modern-day film with several movies employing it to airbrush away wrinkles on stars.

Martin Scorsese erased the wrinkles of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for flashback scenes in for his upcoming  mobster film The Irishman. 

But the younger Smith in Paramount's film is entirely built with special effects - right down to his eerily realistic pores, sinews and blood vessels. 

Director Ang Lee told reporters in Los Angeles: 'In the past we would have had Will Smith's son play it - he would have been put in different hair and makeup, and we'd have called him a 'clone', 

'But it doesn't look good in this media,' he added, referring to the film's state-of-the-art 3D shots, which include several close-up, visceral fight scenes.

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Share Several movies have employed 'de-aging' techniques to airbrush away wrinkles on grizzled stars, but the fresh-faced younger Smith in Paramount's film is entirely built with special effects -- right down to his eerily realistic pores, sinews and blood vessels

Director Ang Lee instructed him to act worse as Junior, channelling his less sophisticated early performances in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the Nineties TV sitcom. Smith and stunt doubles acted out the younger character's part in motion-capture suits before the visual effects were applied on top of their movements

The character of Junior was created by motion capture, which uses actual footage of actors as a basis for digital animation, according to the Times.

Smith and stunt doubles acted out the younger character's part in motion-capture suits before the visual effects were applied on top of their movements. 

Director Ang Lee instructed him to act worse as Junior, channelling his less sophisticated early performances in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the Nineties TV sitcom. 

The technology could allow stars to appear in films after they die, and fears have even been expressed that computer-generated clones could one day replace them. 

'Gemini Man' has been trapped in development for more than two decades, bouncing between studios, directors and stars as Hollywood has waited for technology to catch up with the movie's plot - the trailer shows a young clone assassin sent by a shadowy organisation to kill his older self.

The techniques used in the upcoming film, out in October, are similar to those used in Disney's recent 'live action' version of 'The Lion King'.

But creating a realistic-looking human face has been an unachievable goal of visual effects for a long time, said effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer.

The younger Smith in Paramount's film is entirely built with special effects - right down to his eerily realistic pores, sinews and blood vessels. Lee said that the are not 'de-ageing, but rather, creating a new character, a youthful Will Smith

Smith and stunt doubles acted out the younger character's part in motion-capture suits before the visual effects were applied on top of their movements. Filmmakers went through old photographs and footage of Smith from his twenties

'Every single one of us are experts... over millions of years, the face is how we look at someone and tell that they're lying to you or that there's an illness,' he explained.

'The subtleties of what tells you that are subconscious. So for us to go in and try to recreate that digitally is really hard.'

Smith and stunt doubles acted out the younger character's part in motion-capture suits before the visual effects were applied on top of their movements.

They studied the morphology of aging, and looked at human anatomy from how facial muscles interact right down to the microscopic level of skin pores and melanin pigment. 

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who has been on board with the project for over a decade, said the 'revolutionary' leap in technology and detail was the equivalent of 'going from black and white into colour.'

The technology could allow stars to appear in films after they die, and fears have even been expressed that computer-generated clones could one day replace them. Here, Robert Downey Junior in Captain Marvel: Civil Wat

With expanding budgets and technological advancements, it is an increasingly used effect in modern-day film with several movies employing it to airbrush away wrinkles on stars. Here, Michael Douglas was de-aged in Ant Man

FILMS THAT ARE USING OR HAVE USED DE-AGEING TECHNIQUE
Martin Scorsese's passion project The Irishman, the director admitted this month he had misgivings about the 'youthification' technology he was employing to smooth out his actors.

The film focuses on Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, a union leader and mobster, and his involvement in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, a former leader of the Teamsters union, played by Al Pacino. As such, the first half finds the two actors playing young versions of their characters, with their wrinkles and jowls obliterated by CGI

Kurt Russell had been de-aged in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Robert Downey Jr was also made to look younger in Captain America: Civil War

 Samuel L Jackson and Clark Gregg both set to be de-aged for next year's Captain Marvel.

Michael Douglas in Ant Man look 30 years younger in the opening scene.

 

Read more:
Gemini Man uses de-ageing to offer double dose of Will Smith | News | The Times