Set to hit theaters October 11th, Skydance Media’s ‘Gemini Man’ makes a splash for cutting edge digital technology used to create a younger version of Will Smith, engaging with issues facing modern society such as cloning, and original storyline. We had the chance to see the film during an advance screening, and catch up with the creators a few days later.
‘Gemini Man’ tells the story of soon-to-be retired assassin Henry Brogan (Will Smith) who comes face-to-face with a younger, faster cloned version of himself, sent to chase him across the globe kill him. The film’s gripping plot line, coupled realistic 3-D special effects and innovative graphic work, engages audiences not only through its entertainment value, but also through its commentary on cloning and its disruptive use of tech media.
Director Ang Lee has worked extensively with complex CGI before, most notably for his Oscar-winning film ‘Life of Pi’. When asked about the challenge of graphically creating a human face, he replied that it was like “playing with fire” – a much harder level than creating an animal. He believes that it is important to innovate in cinema industry because “technology is the new media, and [they] are trying to find [their] relationship with that new media.”
Visual Effects Chief Bill Westenhofer said the goal of the technology that created Junior (Brogan’s clone) was for the audience to “not look at it and say ‘that’s a great special effect’, but to say ‘that’s young Will Smith’.
Star Will Smith said he was drawn to the film because he “loved the philosophical idea that we all plant the seeds of our own destruction” and the movie’s plot “is a clever way of saying that we are the architects of our ultimate rise or fall.” When asked about his reaction to seeing a younger version of himself on screen in a current movie, he described it as “chilling, a bit surreal, a little bit weird” but that as soon as that wore off, he “started getting excited about the possibilities” of the technology that created Junior’s face.
Those possibilities are in the distant future, however, and Lee believes the technology won’t be a threat for actors’ job security as “the digital version is way more expensive than the real one” and “the performance ultimately comes from the actor, not a computer.”
When looking for future roles, Smith said that he’s looking for project with “some justifiable service to the human family.” To him, ‘Gemini Man’ was a perfect fit because it engages in the increasingly pressing conversation about cloning and how it will affect society.
‘Gemini Man’ premiered at the Zurich Film Festival on October 1st, 2019 and is set to hit theaters Friday, October 11th, 2019.