Digital de-aging is ready for prime time. Marvel Studios has been employing the technique fairly liberally in its recent films, sometimes with great success like with Michael Douglas in “Ant-Man” and Kurt Russell in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and sometimes not so great such as Robert Downey Jr. in “Captain America: Civil War”.
This week’s release “Ant-Man and the Wasp” however see not one but three great actors get the technique applied to them for key scenes, and in each case it’s effectively flawless. Even so, it’s only for a few minutes at a time as opposed to large swaths of the film’s narrative.
That changes with the studio’s “Captain Marvel” film which has just wrapped production. The project is set in the 1990s and will feature a twenty-five years younger version of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury as its male lead character – meaning we’ll see a Samuel L. Jackson de-aged to resemble his appearance around the time of “Pulp Fiction” for a significant chunk of the runtime.
Additionally, a de-aged Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) will also serve in a supporting capacity. Speaking with Slashfilm recently, Marvel’s Kevin Feige spoke about the tech:
“Well, I think having the option is pretty amazing. And I think having the technology and even without spoiling anything, Sam Jackson is shooting a movie for us right now that takes, where he’s entirely 25 years younger the whole movie [Captain Marvel]. So that’ll certainly be the one… That’ll be the first one where it’s a character for the whole movie, as opposed to a glimpse at a certain period of time. It’s the whole movie. So it’s possible, assuming that works. It’s possible. It’s very good when you are starting by the way with somebody like Michelle Pfeiffer or Michael Douglas or for that matter Samuel L. Jackson or Clark Gregg.”
The upside of veteran actors like Pfeiffer, Douglas and Jackson is that they have plenty of films showcasing their looks at certain ages, giving the visual effects artists an excellent reference point to match their looks. The “Captain Marvel” film is scheduled to hit cinemas in March.