Meet the Men Behind the First Ever CGI Human in ‘Gemini Man’

Here’s what went in to make 23-year-old Will Smith in Gemini Man.

Published15 Oct 2019, 03:28 PM IST
2 min read

We have seen CGI animals on screen, such as the tiger in Life of Pi, but Ang Lee’s Gemini Man features the first ever CGI human that was created for the first time ever with motion capture effect. The technology was used to create a convincing younger version of Will Smith in the film. The Quint caught up with the men behind the magic, Bill Westenhofer and Guy Williams, who told us what went into the making of the 23-year-old Will Smith.

How difficult was it to come up with something like this? Because this is the first time you’ve created a CGI human.

Bill: I mean the attempt, the desire to make a digital human has been around since I started visual effects 25 years ago. I’d say we stand on the shoulders of giants, of all the people we’ve tried before and come really close. In fact, it was those successes and films, most recent ones like Road One and Blade Runner were. Ang, when he came to me with the project in August of 2017, we looked at it and said we thought that things were close enough that we could push with some dogged determination. We could push the rest of the way there.

So you had to go back to school to study all this again.

Guy: Sure yeah.

Bill: I mean that’s visual effects. You’re always observing, you’re always learning new things. After making waves on Life of Pi I’d still find myself looking over the side of a boat just marvelling at the little ripples that things are making. But it’s a lot about observation. With this case, I was studying Will Smith to a degree that we’d be embarrassed. I actually confessed this to Will himself. But yes, we are now experts in him.

Guy: The absolute worst part is that like Bill says, it’s all about observation. Anytime I’m talking to Will, I’m just sitting there staring at him like this, like he’s funny, like you know trying to figure something out in his face. I’m just like looking at the way his eyebrows move or something that’s like what’s happening with the corner of his mouth.

Editor: Ashish Maccune

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