De-aging in film

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In film, de-aging is a visual effects technique used to make an actor look younger, especially for flashback scenes.

List of films[edit]

The following is a list of films, in chronological order of release, that employ de-aging techniques:

Year Film Description
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Actors Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, who play the mutants Professor X and Magneto respectively, are de-aged in a flashback scene in which the two work together to recruit a mutant girl as a student.[1][2]
2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button In this fantasy romantic drama film, based on a short story in which the protagonist ages backwards, actor Brad Pitt, who plays Benjamin Button, is initially shown as elderly and is gradually de-aged to look progressively younger as numerous decades of the character's life go by.[3][4][1]
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine In this superhero film, actor Patrick Stewart, who plays mutant Professor X, is de-aged for a brief cameo appearance, as the film takes place earlier in the timeline than the previous films of the series in which Stewart participated.[5]
2010 Tron: Legacy In this science fiction film, a sequel to the 1982 film, set 27 years afterward, actor Jeff Bridges, who played the protagonist Kevin Flynn in the original film, is de-aged to appear as a villainous program who looks like Flynn himself, several years younger.[1][6] Bruce Boxleitner, who plays the title character of Tron, also appears de-aged in a flashback; his real world character of Alan Bradley, however, appears as the actor's natural age.
2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug This film was set decades before The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, actor Orlando Bloom reprises his role as the Elf character Legolas and is de-aged in his scenes, to reflect the fact that the film's Elves do not age.[1]
2015 Terminator Genisys In this science fiction film, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as the Terminator android and encounters a younger self, a de-aged portrayal.[1][6]
2015 Ant-Man In this superhero film, actors Michael Douglas and Martin Donovan, who play Hank Pym and Mitchell Carson, are de-aged in a flashback to 1989.[3][7][6][4]
2016 Pee-wee's Big Holiday In this comedy film, actor Paul Reubens reprises his role as Pee-wee Herman 28 years after the last Pee-wee film. De-aging was applied to Reubens to make him appear the same age as he was in his last appearance. During filming, Reubens wore powder and tape on his face.[1][4]
2016 Fan In this Indian film, actor Shah Rukh Khan reprises in a double role as filmstar Aryan Khanna and obsessive fan Gaurav Chandna, who look just like each other. Along with visual effects, prosthetics were used to make Khan seem younger. For dubbing the role for Gaurav, Khan had to modulate his voice.
2016 Captain America: Civil War In this superhero film, actor Robert Downey Jr., who plays Tony Stark, is de-aged in a flashback scene.[3]
2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story In this space opera film, actress Carrie Fisher's likeness is digitally de-aged and recreated to portray her character Princess Leia as she appeared in Star Wars.
2017 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 In this superhero film, actor Kurt Russell, who plays the father of Peter Quill / Star-Lord, is de-aged in a flashback scene set on Earth in the 1980s.[7]
2017 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales In this swashbuckler fantasy film, actor Johnny Depp, who plays the main character Jack Sparrow, is de-aged for a flashback scene.[7]
2017 Kingsman: The Golden Circle Actor Colin Firth was de-aged in a flashback scene in his penultimate test in firing his dog, years before the events of the first film.
2018 Ant-Man and the Wasp In this superhero film, actors Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Laurence Fishburne who play Hank Pym, Janet van Dyne, and Bill Foster, respectively, are de-aged in flashback sequences.[8]
2018 Aquaman In this superhero film, actor Temuera Morrison and actress Nicole Kidman are de-aged using CGI to portray Aquaman's parents, Thomas Curry and Atlanna, in opening scenes set during Aquaman's childhood. In addition, CGI was used to de-age Willem Dafoe for the scene where Nuidis Vulko trains the young Arthur Curry.[9]
2019 Captain Marvel In this superhero film, actors Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg, who play the characters of Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, are de-aged by 25 years for the entire film as it is set in 1995, 13 years prior to the first Iron Man.[10][11]
2019 Avengers: Endgame In this superhero film, multiple actors were digitally de-aged for different sequences. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner were digitally de-aged for their 2012 appearances that recreate scenes from The Avengers (2012) in which they respectively portray Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton.[12] Michael Douglas, John Slattery, and Stan Lee were also digitally de-aged for their 1970 appearances, in which they respectively portray Hank Pym, Howard Stark, and a car driver. The final cut of the film features 200 de-aging and aging shots.[13]
2019 It Chapter Two In this horror film, Jaeden Martell, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, and Jackson Robert Scott were digitally de-aged to reprise their roles from It (2017) in flashback scenes.[14]
2019 Gemini Man In this science fiction film, actor Will Smith will be de-aged to portray a younger clone of his character.[15]
2019 The Irishman In this biographical crime film, actors Robert De Niro and Al Pacino will be digitally de-aged to portray younger versions of Frank Sheeran and Jimmy Hoffa, respectively.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bradley-Tschirgi, Mat (December 1, 2016). "7 movie actors made impossibly young by CGI". GamesRadar. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  2. ^ Staff. "X-Men: Extreme Makeover". Fxguide. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Giardina, Carolyn (May 10, 2016). "How 'Captain America: Civil War' Turned Robert Downey Jr. Back Into a Teen". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Merry, Stephanie (March 18, 2016). "Hollywood's secret beauty trick: The special effects facelift". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  5. ^ Rabin, Nathan (March 7, 2017). "How X-Men Origins: Wolverine Paved the Way for Logan by Being So Terrible". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 18, 2018. He’s supposed to be playing a younger version of Professor Xavier, but the C.G.I. employed is so jarringly off that he looks about as human as Jar Jar Binks.
  6. ^ a b c Gonzales, Dave (July 4, 2015). "How Terminator: Genisys made a 'synthespian' of young Arnold Schwarzenegger". Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Giardina, Carolyn (May 30, 2017). "Johnny Depp to Kurt Russell: How 'De-Aging' Stars Became Hollywood's VFX Trick Du Jour". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Seymour, Mike (July 16, 2018). "A Bug's Wife: Ant-Man and the Wasp". Fxguide. Archived from the original on July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  9. ^ Luxford, James (December 12, 2018). "Aquaman review: Jason Momoa's superhero is flawed but a lot of fun". Metro. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  10. ^ Mike Seymour (March 18, 2019). "Captain Marvel De-Aging by LolaVFX". fxGuide. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  11. ^ Sciretta, Peter (July 6, 2018). "Kevin Feige Explains How They Planned 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' Alongside 'Infinity War,' the Disney Streaming Service and More [Interview]". /Film. Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  12. ^ Sonak, Divij (May 19, 2019). "Avengers: Endgame VFX Supervisor Talks Aging & De-Aging Effects". Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  13. ^ Giardina, Carloyn (July 29, 2019). "'Avengers: Endgame' Contains 200 Aging and De-Aging VFX Shots". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  14. ^ Oller, Jacob (August 1, 2019). "It: Chapter Two features de-aged kids and a new scene direct from Stephen King". Syfy. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  15. ^ Desowitz, Bill (April 13, 2018). "Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' and Ang Lee's 'Gemini Man' - IndieWire". IndieWire. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  16. ^ Robinson, Joanna (December 20, 2016). "Robert De Niro Is the Next Acting Legend to Get a Dramatic C.G.I. Facelift". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 18, 2018.