The Irishman is out. After a long wait, Netflix's most expensive film till date, made in collaboration with the legendary director Martin Scorsese, has premiered on the video streaming platform this week. With a reported budget of $160 million, The Irishman boasts an envious star cast - Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. However, a lot of that money went into special effects - majorly, the de-aging technology used to show a young Robert De Niro, looking like him from the Goodfellas times. Here's what Martin Scorsese says went into making the Hollywood superstar young again for Netflix's mob drama - The Irishman.
With a timeline that spans across four decades and a runtime like no other (3.5 hours!), Martin Scorsese's The Irishman is an epic by all means. The former presented a challenge considering lead actor De Niro isn't really looking like his Taxi Driver avatar these days.
The film’s cinematographer, Rodrigo Prieto is one of the main people behind the technology that everyone is praising. “I was excited, but also a little worried about the issues with computer-generated faces," Prieto told InsideHook.com. However, Pablo Helman of Industrial Light & Magic put his tech to action and made it possible.
“The process doesn’t use animation, it actually records the faces of actors with every nuance of their performance and replaces them with the younger CGI faces. The advantage is that you don’t have to place motion-capture marks on the actors’ faces or helmets with little cameras. In fact, they don’t even wear makeup. It feels perfectly natural to them. This was a prerequisite for Scorsese — he did not want the actors to be encumbered with any VFX paraphernalia," explains Prieto, emphasising on Scorsese's brand of cinema.
The first hour or so is when the de-aging technology is most evident. If you have already streamed the movie on Netflix, you must be aware that the first third of The Irishman seems odd but not completely out of place. This was the case because Prieto mixed de-aging scenes with actors in traditional makeup. Apart from that, it's the acting prowess of De Niro who managed to imitate the body language and mannerisms, reminding us of his Goodfellas days.
If you haven't yet, stream The Irishman on Netflix now. It's a gorgeous piece of cinema.