‘The Irishman’: How Industrial Light & Magic’s Innovative De-Aging VFX Rescued Martin Scorsese’s Mob Epic

  • Indiewire
‘The Irishman’: How Industrial Light & Magic’s Innovative De-Aging VFX Rescued Martin Scorsese’s Mob Epic
Once again technology caught up with need when Industrial Light & Magic developed an innovative digital de-aging process for Martin Scorsese’s character-driven, non-linear mob epic, “The Irishman,” requiring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci to look decades younger as hitman Frank Sheeran, Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, and Philly crime boss Russell Bufalino. The impressive results put Ilm on the Academy’s long-list this week for the VFX Oscar.

Frankly, it couldn’t have been done any other way to preserve their career-capping performances in this zigzagging meditation on friendship, betrayal, and mortality, spanning four decades.

“This was a movie about conversations and we needed a new system because the actors wanted to be themselves,” said Ilm VFX supervisor Pablo Helman, who first prepared a test with De Niro from “Goodfellas” in 2015 that got the film greenlit by Netflix. The costly VFX de-aging, therefore, became the tech centerpiece, with
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