ByChris Harkin, writer at
It's hard to tell who's more crazy... me, or everyone else. Aspiring Screen Writer and Speculator of Everything. Feel free to shoot me an em
Chris Harkin

With the DVD release of Captain America: Civil War comes a whole lot of DVD extras, which means we get to see all the secret behind-the-scenes footage about the making of the film. Early in the film, we got to see a holographic projection of the final time Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) ever spoke to his parents. This was a sad moment, which proved to be more important than it seemed when the anguish Tony felt over his parents' deaths pushed him to try and kill Bucky in the movie's finale.

However, the strangest thing about the scene is that Robert Downey Jr played the twenty-year-old version of Stark, despite currently being aged 51. While CGI was clearly used to make him look younger, the specifics were recently revealed in an interview with visual effects supervisor Dan Deleeuw. First though, check out the scene below to see the effects in action!

It's definitely an impressive visual, but here's what Deleeuw had to say about the creating of the scene:

"We went through and we put a kind of catalogue together of his earlier films. Part of the process was deciding what Robert should look like, as this younger version of himself. And we settled on kind of a mix between a couple films. It became more of a young Stark, than a young Robert, in a way.”

But the real question is, how do you get the previous compilation of Downey faces and create the young Tony Stark?

“…you actually take Robert’s face and warp it. You’ll go into your computer and you’ll take his face and basically massage it so areas as you age, that we’ve all experienced, you know, that kind of distort from when you were young—then kind of distort those back to when you were young, at an earlier age.”

So, in order to create the scene, Downey Jr's features from his earlier work were layered onto his current face to make the finished product! It's pretty weird to think that, in a way, they just photoshopped Robert Downey Jr onto Robert Downey Jr, but it's also pretty cool!

Of course, this isn't the only time that super CGI skills have aged or de-aged a character. In fact, here are four other examples of when the aging process has been reversed or accelerated through the magic of computer generated imagery!

1. Ant-Man!

Credit to Walt Disney Studios
Credit to Walt Disney Studios

Yes, Marvel has even done it before — albeit on a less grand scale than they did in Civil War. Michael Douglas starred as Hank Pym in Ant-Man last year, and appeared in a flashback scene looking just the same as he did in films like Wall Street in the 1980s. The magic behind this scene is similar to the Downey Jr one: the effect was created by mixing what Douglas really looked like in the '80s with his current look. The end result is basically a digital face-lift, and a really good one at that!

2. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button!

Credit to Paramount Pictures
Credit to Paramount Pictures

Long before Marvel made a splash with their CGI face layering, an incredible mix of make-up and CGI was used to create the incredible aging and de-aging of both Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in the film The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Whilst CGI was only responsible for half of the work, it's still incredibly impressive! You can check out a video below showing how they created the make-up part of Brad Pitt's look for the film:

3. Pee Wee's Big Holiday!

Credit to Netflix
Credit to Netflix

Pee-Wee Herman — played by Paul Reubens for many years on TV — recently returned in a Netflix original film. Reubens, who is now sixty-three years old, said that he felt age didn't work with the character, and would take away from the film. So a mixture of make-up and digital effects took the current Reubens, on the left of the below picture, and created the Reubens on the right!

Credit to Netflix
Credit to Netflix

It's a pretty incredible transformation, bringing Pee-Wee back to our screens looking almost exactly the same as he did in 1990!

4. Terminator: Genisys!

Credit to Paramount Pictures
Credit to Paramount Pictures

Yes: while trying to give the thirty one year old franchise a face-lift, Paramount Pictures decided to do the same thing to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Only not really, because what they actually did was create what the visual effects team called a "Synthespian". This involved taking a younger actor, Brett Azar, who has the same measurements as Arnie had in the '80s, and getting him to do all the movement and fighting for the Terminator, before using decades of Schwarzenegger's old footage to create the synthesised character seen in the film. It's pretty incredible feat of modern effects, even if the film itself was a bit of a let down at the box office.

And there it is! While these other examples were pretty impressive, do you think they compare to the twenty-year-old Tony Stark created for Captain America: Civil War? Vote below and check out more great posts about Civil War's special features below!


Which of the age changing special effects was your favourite?


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