Facelifts with­out the knives

Tech­nol­ogy turns back clock on stars

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Johnny Depp is 53 but he doesn’t look a day over 26 in the new Pi­rates of the Caribbean movie — at least for a few mo­ments. There was no plas­tic sur­geon in­volved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the ac­tor back to his boy­ish Cry Baby face, how­ever. It’s all post-pro­duc­tion vis­ual ef­fects, and af­ter a decade of re­fin­ing the process since Brad Pitt ran the gamut of time in The Cu­ri­ous Case of Ben­jamin But­ton, it’s be­com­ing com­mon­place in ma­jor Hol­ly­wood movies.

Depp is just the lat­est megas­tar to get the dras­tic de-ag­ing treat­ment on screen, join­ing the ranks of Robert Downey Jr. (in Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War), Michael Dou­glas (in Ant-Man), Kurt Rus­sell (in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) and scores of oth­ers get­ting dig­i­tal facelifts to play younger ver­sions of them­selves. In the old days, a lucky un­known looka­like (or look-enough alike) could have scored the part of young Jack Spar­row or Tony Stark. Now, if the film has the bud­get, the stars get to have it both ways — and au­di­ences get a nos­tal­gic flash­back.

Lola Vis­ual Ef­fects is re­spon­si­ble for Depp’s trans­for­ma­tion, and most of the Mar­vel tricks, which have in­cluded mak­ing Chris Evans scrawny for the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Amer­ica and Hay­ley Atwell some 70 years older for the se­quel.

Lola was the pioneer be­hind Ben­jamin But­ton, too, and sells its ser­vices to all the ma­jor stu­dios. It’s one of a hand­ful of ven­dors that have got­ten in the so-called “beauty work” busi­ness. It’s meant to go un­no­ticed (like re­mov­ing a blem­ish), and buried un­der moun­tains of con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ments.

“Work­ing on the hu­man face is one of the, if not the most chal­leng­ing thing to do,” said Trent Claus, vis­ual ef­fects su­per­vi­sor for Lola VFX. “Peo­ple can tell when there is some­thing amiss. Even if they can’t put their fin­ger on what is wrong, they can tell that some­thing is wrong.”

Chuck Zlotnick/disney-Mar­vel via the associated Press

Stars like Kurt rus­sell (in guardians of the galaxy Vol. 2) have gone through dras­tic de-ag­ing treat­ments on screen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.