WARNING: SPOILERS FOR GEMINI MAN
One of the definite positive points of Ang Lee’s Gemini Man is the photorealistic double of Will Smith. Will Smith plays a 50 year old man named Henry who is an ex-US government assassin. He is on the run from a 23 year old version of himself. Even from the trailers it looked like a younger Smith, perhaps even predating The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The “deaging” technology used here is way different from how it’s done in other movies.
How De-Aging Is Done In Marvel Movies
Some of the most notable deaged characters in recent memory certainly come from Marvel. For example” A deaged Tony played by Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War and a younger Nick Fury played by Samuel Jackson in Captain Marvel. All this is done by making use of LOLA visual effects. The actors shoot normally and then in post production it is the effects team who complete the digital changes to carry out the “youthening” of the faces. Yet these kind of MCU effects are often called “cartoony”.
How Gemini Man Takes The De-Aging Technology Up A Notch
In Gemini Man, the above procedure for deaging isn’t exactly followed. Lee’s team instead created a digital construct from scratch. This digital creation was done by WETA for Smith’s clone, known as Junior. The digital capture was driven by Smith’s performance capture and emotions. Lee analyzed hours worth of footage of a younger Smith. He also used a higher frame rate and a high resolution camera to create a hyper realistic version. So, Smith did a scene in mo-cap for Junior and the effects team then swapped him with Junior using WETA tech.
But all of it falls apart in the last part of the movie. There Junior looks amateurish and doesn’t even sync up with the Sunny background on campus. It appears Lee had to cut corners at the end and the result is a movie which just fell short of technological greatness. Hopefully this movie won’t be too much of a stumble for Will Smith and he will be able to recover with the Bad Boys sequel.
Want to know more about the deaging process used in Gemini Man? How about you hear it all from Will Smith only: