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Actors Who Needed To Be Digitally Enhanced For Their Roles

Filmmakers today can bring just about anything
to life using state of the art digital effects. Whether it’s exploding space stations or giant
transforming robots, if you can imagine it, the movie industry can spare a couple hundred
million to put it up on the big screen. But all that technology can also be used for
decidedly more mundane purposes – like making an actor’s body parts look bigger or erasing
embarrassing tattoos. In fact, the movie industry’s top effects
animators are often hard at work adding and subtracting tiny elements that may never be
noticed by most filmgoers. Here’s a look at some actors whose real-life
features had to be digitally altered for the movies. Dakota Johnson Whenever you see a new d scene in a movie,
there’s a good chance that nobody on set ever really got nekid. Often, actors wear flesh-colored underwear,
and for most movies this is enough, because intimate scenes don’t really factor into the
plot. Not true for the film adaptation of Fifty
Shades of Grey. Those scenes are the plot, which posed a unique
problem for the effects department. Specifically because it showed more skin than
most other films do, a decision needed to be made about whether or not Dakota Johnson’s
character, Anastasia Steele, had a personal grooming routine. Apparently she didn’t, because a digital effects
artist had to go in during post-production and use CGI to give Johnson, um, one of THESE. Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey would later
refer to this as one of the most surreal moments of his entire career – closely followed by
overseeing the hiring process of a suitable butt double for Johnson. Nicolas Cage It’s safe to say that Nicolas Cage loves comic
books. His son Kal-El is named after Superman, he
changed his own last name early in his career from Coppola to Cage as a nod to the Marvel
character Luke Cage, and he even has a large tattoo of the Ghost Rider on his arm. This latter tribute proved to be a problem
when Cage was set to star in the 2007 Ghost Rider film, because, well, it would have been
kind of weird for Johnny Blaze to have a tattoo of his own superhero alter ego on his bicep. So the decision was made to use the magic
of special effects to hide the offending tattoo whenever Cage needed to take off his shirt. A persistent rumor surrounding the movie suggests
that Cage’s abs were also created using the magic of CGI; however, his Ghost Rider co-star
Eva Mendes has confirmed that they were, in fact, 100 percent real. Kristian Nairn There’s a scene in the first season of Game
of Thrones when the character Hodor, played by actor Kristian Nairn, gets nekid – revealing
the giant character’s suitably plus-sized anatomy. To achieve the illusion, Nairn was asked to
wear a realistic-looking 16-inch prosthetic that was attached to his groin using glue. “For weeks later, I would be finding pieces
of prosthetic piece, um, attached to my own.” The effects department then blended the whole
thing to his body using digital effects, airbrushing out a special thong Nairn was wearing beneath
the whole get-up. According to the actor, this thong shielded
his actual package from view so well that one of his co-stars asked if it was real. There’s only one response to that question. “Hodor.” Paul Reubens If you happened to catch Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday
on Netflix, you may have noticed that actor Paul Reubens looked surprisingly spry and
youthful for a 60-something-year-old man. To give the impression that Reubens hadn’t
aged since his last TV appearance as the character, CGI was used in tandem with makeup, lighting
and sticky tape to de-age the actor. And that last part isn’t a joke – tape was
used to pull back Reubens’ face for some scenes to make his skin look smoother. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the
best ones. To his credit, Reubens was surprisingly open
about the use of CGI to remove his wrinkles, admitting that Pee-Wee simply wouldn’t work
“with age mixed into it.” “Breakfast bar! Scone! French toast! American toast! Achoo!” The cast of Glee The hit musical dramedy Glee continued the
longstanding Hollywood tradition of hiring older actors to play teenagers. Although none of the actors playing high schoolers
on the show were the age they were supposed to be, they still apparently suffered from
a fairly common affliction that plagues all young people: acne. This didn’t zit well with the producers, who
paid an unnamed visual effects company to do what was dubbed “a pimple pass” on most
episodes to ensure every actor’s skin was blemish-free. Because if there’s anything that’s going to
make a show relatable to young people, it’s flawless-looking actors with perfect skin
complaining about being unattractive. Jessica Alba Jessica Alba resolved long ago to not take
off her clothes for a movie. She told Scarlet magazine in 2010: “I can act sexy and wear sexy clothes, but
I can’t go naked. My grandmother would freak out and throw a
towel over me if she saw me wearing just a bra and panties…I can handle being sexy
with clothes on but not with them off.” Anyone who watched 2010’s Machete after reading
the article in Scarlet was likely surprised when Alba appeared to be newd during a shower
scene – but the key word there is “appeared.” In reality, Alba was clothed, and her garments
were digitally replaced in post-production with computer-generated skin. Claire Danes When a regular for a hit show gets pregnant,
sometimes creators use the tools the universe has given them and write the pregnancy into
the story. But when Claire Danes announced she was pregnant
with her first child in 2012, she assured fans her Homeland character Carrie Mathison
would remain “fervently non-pregnant” for the show’s second season. Danes’ on-set work for season two of Homeland
continued as late as six weeks before she gave birth. Her baby bump was digitally erased in post-production,
and body doubles were also used to help with the subterfuge. It wouldn’t be the last time Homeland used
these strategies to keep a pregnancy out of the story – the following year, they used
similar techniques on Morena Baccarin. Even though it didn’t show up on-screen, Danes’
pregnancy didn’t make things any easier for her. She described one particularly difficult scene
that had her chained in a basement. “It was 4 a.m. I was seven and a half months pregnant, and
I was like, ‘This sucks.'” She also said the pregnancy made love scenes
difficult, using the example of the shooting of one love scene when her baby was particularly
active. “It was like he was protesting on my husband’s
behalf.” Chris Evans Among all the otherworldly characters in Marvel
movies, the young, scrawny Steve Rogers in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger
remains one of Marvel’s most impressive CGI effects. No single technique was used to create the
smaller and skinnier pre-experiment Steve Rogers. Marvel hired Lola Visual Effects to do the
digital body work on Chris Evans for Captain America. Lola’s supervisor Edson Williams told Variety
that the so-called “Benjamin Button” method – or digitally attaching Evans’ face to a
body double – was only used for 15 percent of the shots. For the rest, Lola digitally shrunk Evans’
face and body. The process involved shooting everything at
least three times: Once with Evans, once with Evans’ smaller body double, and one “clean
shot” without either of them. With each shot, the team determined whether
to go the easier “Benjamin Button” route, or what Lola came to call “Steve slimming.” Williams said that the most challenging part
of the process was caused by Evans’ massive arms. When shot in profile, they blocked an entire
third of his body, so the fabric of Evans’ shirts would need to be digitally erased and
replaced with something else to give the illusion of skinny and comparatively weak arms. That’s probably the only time in the history
of superhero movies that bulking up turned out to be a bad thing. Guy Henry & Ingvild Deila For better or worse, prequels are now a staple
of film franchises, and CGI is part of what makes them possible. The filmmakers of Rogue One faced particularly
tough challenges. For the story they wanted, they needed to
recreate the characters of Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia. Peter Cushing, who played Tarkin in 1977’s
Star Wars, passed away in 1994. Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Princess Leia,
was still alive during the making of Rogue One, but she looked and sounded nothing like
she had…since about four decades had passed. So Tarkin and Leia were digitally recreated. For principal photography, Tarkin was played
by British actor Guy Henry, who wore a motion-capture headpiece during filming. Animators worked meticulously to recreate
the actor’s mannerisms. Not quite so much work was needed for the
digital rebirth of Princess Leia. When seen from behind, she’s fully Norwegian
actress Ingvild Deila. From the front, what you see is almost entirely
a digital creation, though Leia’s outstretched hand is Deila’s. Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen X-Men: The Last Stand is not a well-loved
movie among comic book fans, but at least one aspect the film was pretty groundbreaking. The film opens with Professor X and Magneto
making an early attempt to recruit Jean Grey into Xavier’s school for mutants. The flashback sequence takes place around
20 years before the events of the rest of the film, and the filmmakers wanted the actors’
appearance to reflect those younger days. Rather than using prosthetics or special motion
capture suits, the sequence was shot as if no changes were going to be made to it at
all. The VFX team then used a process called digital
skin grafting to rejuvenate Stewart and McKellen, utilizing old photographs for reference as
well as consulting with a plastic surgeon to learn the specifics of how skin changes
as people age. Kurt Russell Like the film that preceded it, Guardians
of the Galaxy Volume 2 opens on Earth, several decades in the past. We see Meredith Quill being romanced by a
Kurt Russell who looks like he could’ve just finished filming Big Trouble in Little China. But there seems to be a little disagreement
regarding how his onscreen rejuvenation was achieved. When Russell talked about the transformation,
he said it was “about 90%” make-up and added that the filmmakers didn’t do much digital
manipulation. Russell says he’s been working with the same
make-up artist – Dennis Ledger – since 1989, and Ledger pulled off most of the work. “They just did the little brush up, clean
up on a couple of things, but it’s pretty much what Dennis Ledger did.” Writer-slash-director James Gunn’s recollection
is significantly different. In the comments section of a video Gunn posted
on Facebook, the director responded to a fan question about the flashback sequence. He wrote: “A company named Lola did the effects, and
they did an incredible job. First we film every scene with Kurt. A young actor, Aaron Schwarz […] watches
everything [Kurt Russell] does. He then goes in and mimics Kurt’s actions. We then take Kurt’s acting and general face
and body and place Aaron’s skin onto him. It is a long, painstaking process that took
many, many months to accomplish.” Robert Downey Jr. For all the CGI used in Captain America: Civil
War, the film’s most stunning visual effect came in a comparatively low-key moment. An early scene in Civil War opens to what
appears to be a flashback. A young Tony Stark is giving exactly the snark
we expect from him as his parents Howard and Maria are about to leave for a fateful trip. “Who’s the homeless person on the couch?” “This is why I love coming home for Christmas. Right before you leave town.” We eventually learn we’re seeing Stark’s memories
as they’re translated through a device Stark has developed. As they did when digitally rejuvenating characters
in earlier films, Marvel Studios called on Lola Visual Effects to take 20 to 25 years
off Downey. The scene presented one of the toughest challenges
Lola has had to tackle while working with Marvel because the entire sequence was filmed
in a single shot. Trent Claus, Lola’s visual effects supervisor,
told The Hollywood Reporter: “The shot was nearly 4,000 frames long, with Tony Stark
turning from one side to the other multiple times, physically interacting with other actors,
and the set itself, and moving closer to the camera for a very long, uninterrupted close-up.” Claus went on to say that analyzing footage
from Downey’s late ’80s film work was essential in achieving the effect, and singled out 1987’s
Less Than Zero as a focal point. “But it’s so real, it freaked me out.” “You think? It freaked me the heck out! I was like, ‘My God, he was beautiful, what


  1. 1sadsexually2sadsexually Author

    WHY does it "cost" so much to create certain special effects? Like do you need a new computer for every different kind of effect or is the software like an only one time use thing? Who owns these CGI softwares/computers? or is it like a labor thing?

  2. Jonny Tolley Author

    They should've used CG to make Dakota Johnson's face attractive, then I might watch those awful 50 Shades movies. At least cast someone sexy for a movie about sex.

  3. Gabriela Fonseca Author

    Adding Oliver Reed to Gladiator, who died while the movie was being filmed, should be here. You really can't tell that his face and acting were put on a body double. A CGI effect much better than that dopey tiger in the colliseum

  4. NGMonocrom Author

    Really?! Just going to completely ignore Angelina Jolie's breasts digitally enhanced (enlarged) during her run as Lara Croft in the Tomb raider franchise? Really?!

  5. Schwarzer Ritter Author

    Why are we even using actors at all at this point?
    Just use sock puppets instead of actors. I am sure you can digitally make them look like people.

  6. Kadasberry11 Author

    So no one else bothered by the fact that an editor, a professional, decided to make a woman’s private grooming public knowledge?? Like what kind of creep arse person does that. Trash 😒

  7. InformantNet Author

    Nicolas Cage is his STAGE NAME, dopes. He didn't "change his name from Nicolas Coppola — that's still his legal name. Do a little research, please.

  8. EnterNameHere Author

    If you're going to sign on to a film that requires you to be naked for most of it, at least shave your bush. Put in some amount of effort into that if you're a shitty actress to boot.

  9. Lawrence Schuman Author

    Wouldn't it be easier to re cast Pee Wee Herman, in the event that new Pee Wee Herman material needs to be made. If Zachary Quinto can nail an Icon like Spock, somebody not Paul Reubens can play Pee Wee Herman.

  10. Xylarxcode Author

    No Michael Douglas in Ant-Man? They did a flashback sequence to the 80's with a young Michael Douglas that is every bit as convincing as young Kurt Russell was in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. It's pretty amazing what they can pull off with enough time and money. If you didn't know any better, you'd think they somehow managed to put their actual younger version in the movie.

  11. Nicole Author

    Kurt Russell trying to say he just needs a bit of makeup😂
    I've seen when they overuse makeup to try and make actors look younger..I think we all have. It doesn't look good.

  12. Cuba, under Weyler and before US occupation, was very deadly! Author

    Lindsay Lohan got a digitally enhanced flat chest for her Herbie film for Disney.

  13. RomiesStudio Author

    I know this is an old post but i just came across it, Captain America is not quite accurate. The method used was filming the same shot three times once with Chris once with another thin small actor and once without any main actor. They then composited Chris face on the other body and used the empty shots to composite it.

  14. YaBoiiChris x Author

    These days I honestly don’t think tattoos are a big deal , maybe if you have like full sleeves or half sleeves. But like 1 or 2 of them on your body , I’m pretty sure they can make it unnoticed with there fancy tech stuff , or makeup depending on how big or colorful the tatt is.


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