Marvel’s Ant-Man recently released in this side of the world (read India) on 24 July and Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) followers have been thronging the theatres to get to know the latest addition to The Avengers (well that will soon happen come ‘Captain America: Civil War’ 2016)
Although Paul Rudd makes for a good choice to play Ant-Man, it was the older Ant-Man or the original one reprised by Michael Douglas who steals the show as he shows up in the opening sequence as a young Hank Pym in 1989; the Oscar-winning actor looks like he shot the scene just after filming for Wall Street.
Lola VFX is the post production house that has delivered this magnificent work for this MCU’s last venture in its Phase 2 theatrical outings. In the world of visual effects, Lola specialises in “visual cosmetics,” which can range from secret touch-ups to complete physical transformations.
The company actually broke out onto the scene of de-aging with X-Men: The Last Stand (the opening scene with Professor X and Magneto?), but their breakout moment came on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, where they handled the aging and de-aging of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett’s characters. This is now the second time that Lola VFX has worked with Marvel, after it created the skinny version of Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger.
Before filming, Marvel gave Lola VFX notice about the Ant-Man prologue, so the company had some rules for shooting the scene with Douglas. First, Lola VFX didn’t want any anti-aging makeup on Douglas, and second, it wanted a younger actor to stand in to see how more youthful skin looks on the set. Afterward, Lola VFX started its process, and the company noted that having so much reference material of Douglas from the past – like Wall Street – was a double-edged sword.
According to Trent Claus, visual cosmetic specialist at Lola, they took references from Douglas’ previous films where he is in the 40-year-old range. He further explained how it helped them to recreate the younger looking Douglas, but at the same time also increased the difficulty that much as audiences has already seen him, as to how he looked like at that age.
Claus revealed that while creating a digitally de-aged person, it is important to restore the elasticity of the skin and pull it back. In case of Douglas, anti-aging makeup was not used. Lola VFX added fat to the cheeks of Douglas, shrunk his ears and nose, then when it came to restoring what Claus called Douglas’s “youthful glow,” the team added shine to his skin by hiding the blood vessels in his nose, and with that, Douglas appears 25 years younger, making the 1989 scene in Ant-Man possible.
In Ant-Man‘s opening scene, Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym strides into S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to tender his resignation. The scene takes place in 1989, and the Douglas that walks into the room is the spitting image of the actor during his Wall Street and Fatal Attraction days.