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How Bruce Willis got a celluloid face-lift for his ‘Surrogates’ robot

Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on October 3, 2009

Bruce Willis in the Surrogates

Bruce Willis in the Surrogates

Patrick Kevin Day interviews some of the top talent behind the camera in Hollywood to find out how the achieved the movie magic we all see on the screen. His Scene Stealer feature (along with Liesl Bradner’s series of Wizards of Hollywood posts) are intriguing glimpses in the EFX world and you can read more of them here. — Geoff Boucher

 Patrick Kevin Day – LATimes.com

In order to make 54-year-old Bruce Willis’ surrogate robot look like a man in his mid-30s in the sci-fi film “Surrogates,” Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson oversaw some work worthy of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.

“We started out with makeup,” Stetson said. Makeup supervisor Jeff Dawn oversaw the application of straightforward cosmetic makeup, which was enhanced by cinematographer Oliver Wood’s lighting. Then the digital-effects artists went in to the roughly 200 shots of Willis’ surrogate and removed the creases of the actor’s face frame by frame.

“It was a lot like doing concept work for a face-lift,” Stetson said. And is this kind of digital de-aging popular with stars in non-science-fiction films? “We’re getting into an area we really shouldn’t be talking about,” was all Stetson would say…

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