The Irishman, a highly anticipated film this year, is finally available on Netflix. An ambitious work by Martin Scorsese, marked by incredible technological feats used to de-age the actors.
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci in a film directed by Martin Scorsese... who would've thought it would take this long to get them all together? In Netflix's much-awaited film The Irishman, the dream cast of many cinema fans has finally become a reality!
De Niro, thirty years old and eighty years old in the same film
For his new film, Scorsese looked at a world he knows well: the mafia. In this 3.5 hour long masterpiece, the story spans 50 years, with continuous comings and goings over time. Rather than hiring young actors to play the role, Scorcese preferred to instead opt for De Niro playing his character at three different ages. We know what you're thinking - how could they make De Niro look 30 years old? The answer wasn't motion capture (like for Carrie Fischer in ‘Rogue One’) but a revolutionary new process...
The director called on Pablo Helman, visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic. He and his team developed a technology that can digitally rejuvenate the faces of actors, without having to wear a helmet with sensors all over it.
Using cameras and associated software, Industrial Light & Magic was able to capture the actors' facial expressions and translate them into the younger 3D versions of the actors. An expensive de-ageing technology that many studios before refused to finance... but not Netflix.
In addition to adding or removing wrinkles, it was also necessary to logically record the movements of the characters according to age. As anyone can imagine, a 30-year-old body doesn't move in the same way as an 80-year-old body. So the production hired a physiotherapist, Gary Tacon, who worked with the actors on their movements. Not to mention an equally important work on costumes and sets, which span 50 years of American mafia history between Philadelphia and New York. We can kind of understand why the budget reached such a crazy amount now...