Paramount Studios “Gemini Man” Movie Clones A Younger Version of Will Smith
Updated: Dec 6, 2019
By Jean-Paul Cote, October 11, 2019
Gemini Man, a thrilling, action blockbuster starring VSmith is coming to theaters this Friday, October 11th. The film has been gathering attention and turning heads, but not just because of its hall of fame actor, and award-winning director. The movie has piqued interest because of the strides it has made in the evolution of visual effects technology.
A Digital Character
Gemini Man centers around the character Henry Brogan, a 50-year-old government assassin played by Will Smith. Brogan is hunted down by another assassin who turns out to be a 23-year-old clone of Brogan, created using his DNA. This clone’s name is Junior, and he is played by a digitally rendered version of Will Smith. “This is not me, de-aged,” Smith explained at the film’s Los Angeles press day, “It’s a 100% digital interpretation of me, as a digital character. It’s the first digital human. It’s actually a spectacular thing, to be able to make people feel emotion, in that way, capturing the youthful eyes.”
Weta’s Movie Magic
The ones responsible for the creation of this computer-generated rendition are the team at Weta Digital. Weta Digital is a VFX company out of New Zealand. The company was co-founded by Lord of The Rings director Peter Jackson and they are responsible for the VFX in titles like Avatar, Game of Thrones, Ad-Astra, and multiple MCU films. The team placed a facial-capture headset on Will Smith, with two cameras aimed directly at him. Black tracking dots were drawn all over his face which the animation team used to mathematically reproduce a computer image that mimicked the way Will’s face actually moved. The animators were then, through a technology called Deep Shapes, able to create non-linear patterns in the eyes and lips that produced a more convincing and life-like animation. No details were overlooked in the construction of Junior’s character and Weta’s artists even went so far as to simulate the pores on Will’s nose (Source - cnet).
High Resolution Frame Rate
What really set this film apart in the tech department, was not just the CGI but the frame rate that it was shot at. Gemini Man was shot with 3D cameras at 120 FPS (frames per second). To put that in perspective, standard films are shot at 24 FPS. This gave the images in the film a much more crisp and distinct appearance and also allowed for the film to be displayed in 4K resolution.
These ambitious decisions were made on the part of director Ang Lee. Lee is responsible for such films as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Life of Pi. He explained in an interview (Source - CinemaBlend) how the high frame rate took the option of using hair styling and makeup out of the equation. With such a high-resolution image, the fact that Smith was wearing makeup would become obvious to the audience. Smith couldn’t even wear makeup during shoots of his 50-year-old character and verbalized the fear of having a break-out. In order to create the most convincing depiction possible, Lee dug up old footage of Smith from sources like The Prince of Bel-Air and Bad Boys. He noticed that one of Will’s most defining features was his innocent-looking eyes. Ang stressed to the VFX team the importance of producing naivety in the eyes.
Annex Magazine's exclusive coverage- Gemini Man Movie Premiere -Hollywood, CA
Red Carpet Video Coverage: Jimmy Martinez for Annex Magazine
Secret Ingredient: A Phenomenal Actor
The technology in Gemini Man is outstanding but, technology is only one piece of the puzzle. Stuart Adcock, Weta’s head of facial motion, explained how Will Smith “gave everything to this role,” and his performance and ability as an actor helped bring the digitally constructed Junior to life on screen (Source - cnet).
Video: Jimmy Martinez for Annex Magazine
The Future of Technology
Gemini Man is a testament to the rapid pace at which all technology, not just that found in the world of film, is progressing. In an interview, Smith describes the first time he saw the character Junior as “chilling.” He goes on to say jokingly, “Ten years from now there will be court cases where people will say, I swear to God, that’s not me” (Source — YouTube). For many, Gemini Man is an exciting glimpse into what the future of VFX technology, and film, will hold.
Gemini Man is playing in theaters everywhere now.