To create the 23-year-old version of Will Smith, the Weta VFX team produced an entire younger digital version of Will. Instead of compositing — which has been successfully used to de-age actors in the past — the team decided to create their own technology to develop the digital character.
For more than 2 years, over 500 visual effect artists worked nonstop to create this advanced level of realism for the facial work seen in Gemini Man. In order to capture the details from Will's face, Weta used extensive photoshoots, going as far as photographing the backside of his teeth to correctly match the color. Weta modeled them by studying the anatomy of a tooth and then creating the internal elements and then external teeth.
Production shot the scenes using an AB approach by having Will and an acting partner play out each scene, according to the team “Using this approach, Will Smith had someone to react to, someone to act with, an eye line and also someone who could give the actor something more than just someone reading lines back to him.”
Weta stated that performance was king, “and to that end, the body is part of the performance” hence the reason why so much effort was put into developing this digital character. By using pores, Weta went as far as producing a believable skin texture to match Will Smith. They used Chance Anthony, an African American actor who has the same type of skin as Will Smith when he was younger.
In order to depict eyes with emotion, Weta photographed people sitting in a chair for a day and studied how eyeballs move under eyelids. As a result of their hard work, Weta was able to create a new and inventive way of developing CGI characters.
Check out the detailed breakdown of Weta's impressive work right here.
Face it Will: Gemini Man. (2019, October 16). Retrieved from https://www.fxguide.com/fxfeatured/face-it-will-gemini-man/