The first 25 minutes of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will feature a de-aged Harrison Ford
Achieved using old footage of the actorBy Rob Thubron 23 comments
Something to look forward to: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny's arrival on June 30 will mark the final time Harrison Ford dons the iconic brown fedora and bomber jacket. But for the first 25 minutes of the movie, 79-year-old Ford will be de-aged to his 35-year-old self, thanks to new visual effects software from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).
Those who have seen the trailer for the fifth Indiana Jones entry will know that Ford is the latest actor to be digitally de-aged for parts of a role. Director James Mangold told Total Film that this isn't a brief flashback to the character's youth; a younger Indy has 25 minutes of screen time in the new movie.
Speaking about the scene in the trailer where a bag is pulled off Jones' head to reveal a younger Ford, Mangold said, "I just shot him, and he just pretended that he was 35," though Ford's face was covered in dots to help the system. The effect was aided by the "incredibly gifted and agile" actor, who found it easy to pretend he was in his mid-30s again.
Digitally removing decades from Ford was accomplished using FRAN (face re-aging network), but it only works with real people when there are images available of the person in the same poses and lighting at a younger age. Thankfully for the makers, Lucasfilm had hundreds of hours of footage of Ford, including film that wasn't printed, showing him in different shots, lighting, and during the night and day.
Dial of Destiny starts in 1944, around eight years after Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is why the de-aging tech was required.
"It wasn't a year of effort to get to a first pass," Mangold said. "It was an incredible technology, and, in many ways, I just didn't think about it. I just focused on shooting what's [approximately] a 25-minute opening extravaganza that was my chance to just let it rip. The goal was to give the audience a full-bodied taste of what they missed so much. Because then when the movie lands in 1969, they're going to have to make an adjustment to what it is now, which is different from what it was."
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy also praised the de-aging tech. Speaking to Empire, she said, "My hope is that, although it will be talked about in terms of technology, you just watch it and go, 'Oh my God, they just found footage. This was a thing they shot 40 years ago."
Digitally de-aging actors has come a long way since it was first used to knock the years off Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006: Kurt Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel, and Will Smith in Gemini Man are some notable examples. But Ford's youthifying could be the most convincing yet.