It’s a big year for manipulating the ages of your favorite movie stars

Captain in Endgame

And there’s one place you’ll be able to hear a lot about it…

Chris Evans in Avengers: Endgame. Will Smith in Gemini Man. Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel.


All those actors were made to look significantly younger or older in films this year. And there’s more to come, with work being done also, for example, for Netflix’s The Irishman to transform Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci into younger versions of themselves.

Will Smith in Gemini Man
Will Smith in Gemini Man, with visual effects from Weta Digital. See a preview of the work at befores & afters.

The methods used to transform the actors vary. Visual effects studio Lola VFX, which worked on Evans’ older self in Endgame and the younger Jackson in Captain Marvel (among other characters), tends to use only compositing methods in Flame. Weta Digital, which is delivering a young Will Smith for Gemini Man, is going a completely CG route.

Interested in learning more about how all this is done? You can, at the VIEW Conference in Turin, where three acclaimed visual effects supervisors will cover the work:

  • Lola’s Trent Claus on Endgame (and on other de-ageing work in the MCU)
  • Weta Digital’s Guy Williams on Gemini Man
  • Visual effects supervisor Janelle Croshaw Ralla on Captain Marvel

These experts will also be part of a panel at VIEW discussing digital characters, and de-ageing.

Chris Evans in old-age
Chris Evans in old-age make-up and tracking markers while shooting ‘Endgame’.
Lola VFX
The final shot by Lola VFX also took advantage of using an older actor for reference. Read more about the process at befores & afters.

And if that’s not enough, there are several other speakers at VIEW speaking about films and work involving digital characters. These include ILM VFX supe Daniele Bigi on Aladdin, and Google VR’s Paul Debevec.

This new wave of digital characters, particularly those that make the characters younger or older than the actors that play them, is definitely a growing trend in film and television. Sometimes it might be described as ‘de-ageing’ work, sometimes it’s actually pure CG photoreal characters, driven by the actor themselves. All of it involves some next-level artistry by VFX practitioners.

A young Nick Fury in 'Captain Marvel.
A young Nick Fury in ‘Captain Marvel.’ Read my breakdown of this work at Cartoon Brew.

You can buy tickets to VIEW here:

Avengers: Endgame was released on digital July 30th and is available on Blu-ray August 13th.

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