You’ll be pleased to know that you don’t need to have finished the three and a half-hour long The Irishman to appreciate the contents of this article.
As with any Scorsese epic, one can expect it to span across decades in its quest to heighten drawn-out suspense and create anticipation. And while the likes of Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino might be a recipe for box office success (or subscriber revenue in the case of Netflix), it wasn’t the easiest road to making a bunch of old farts look naturally younger.
Enter effects studio: Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), who were tasked by Scorsese and Netflix to de-age the cast of the streamer’s new crime movie.
Scorsese expressed his concern that DeNiro, Pesci, and Pacino would feel uncomfortable using the classic motion-capture rigs and thus not deliver their best acting performances. To skirt around this, the team at ILM were asked to create all-new technology that wouldn’t encroach on the three Oscar-winning actors.
After compiling two years of footage from the career archives of each actor, ILM used the younger on-screen faces to serve as reference points for the faces and expressions that they would use in the film at different ages.
And while some viewers were quick to point out what they believed to be certain ‘hiccups’ in this new technology, ILM confirmed their job was to create younger-looking versions of the characters from The Irishman, rather than the actors themselves.
Understand more about this fascinating technology in the short featurette above.