How ‘Gemini Man’ Was Made Using Advanced Technology

by Ricky Fernandes da Conceição

In our review of Gemini Man, Christopher Cross wrote, “Ang Lee’s film is the product of trying to firmly plant itself in the future of filmmaking by employing every digital trick in the cinematic playbook, while also questioning why we make movies the way we do when there are so many other ways to do it.” If you know anything about the making of Gemini Man, you’ll understand what Christopher means by this.

Take for instance, how they made Will Smith look so young. If you haven’t read about the making of the film, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Gemini Man used the same de-aging process as that seen in many of the Marvel films (most notably Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in Captain Marvel), but in fact, the filmmakers achieved the effect through after-the-fact photographic manipulation (or rather, extreme airbrushing of the actors as they appeared onset). Simply put, the filmmakers created a digital mask of Will Smith at age 23 by using old footage of the actor, and then stretched it over the face and body of current Will Smith. And if that wasn’t enough; visual effects studio Weta Digital elevated its animation prowess using an ultrahigh 3D frame rate (120 frames-per-second at 4K resolution). Crazy right? What’s even crazier is that Ang Lee’s experimental, strange thriller is so advanced, most theaters aren’t properly equipped to exhibit the film in the proper format.

Regardless of whether or not, you like the film, the making of Gemini Man is fascinating and worth understanding. Luckily, a new featurette was released earlier this week by CG Record, which explains in detail how they went about creating a younger Will Smith. Check out the video below and let us know what you think. I also recommend reading the interview Wired conducted with the film’s f/x artists. Enjoy!

Finally, following an advance screening in Toronto, the Academy Award-winning director held a 45-minute Q&A about his visionary film and the revolutionary technologies employed to bring it to life.

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