There is no reference to our film Gemini Man interview with Will Smith

“There is no reference to our film”: “Gemini Man” interview with Will Smith

One night we spent on the set of Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” in Georgia. And eventually Will Smith got to grips with it YESMOVIES. To tell Ben Gervais, Demetri Portelli and Bill Westenhofer of the technical background of the sci-fi thriller.

“Gemini Man” is an expensive blockbuster heavyweight, but at least on one level, the producers have made a bargain for Jerry Bruckheimer: For the futuristic action thriller, the makers get two times superstar Will Smith for the price of one. The 50-year-old not only plays the former government killer Henry Brogan, but also his 23-year-younger clone Junior, who hunts for him. While Henry has to find out why the Defense Intelligence Agency wants him killed, he receives support from Agent Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who was supposed to be watching him.

“Gemini Man” is an expensive blockbuster heavyweight, but at least on one level, the producers around Jerry Bruckheimer have made a bargain:

On set in the small town of Glennville, Georgia (near Savannah), we met Will Smith for an interview after a long night of shooting that we completely accompanied.

On set in the small town of Glennville, Georgia (near Savannah), we met Will Smith for an interview after a long night of shooting that we completely accompanied.

FILMSTARTS: Does the technology impact your performance at 120 frames per second (fps)?

Will Smith: Yes, indeed. We’ve found that it looks better without makeup. [laughs] That makes the morning easier. Every bit of make-up can be seen with 120 fps and 4K resolution directly on the monitors and then later on the screen.

Will Smith:

FILMSTARTS: What is it like to play a person in two different age groups who still share the screen?

Will Smith: It’s really bizarre to always jump back and forth. The two figures share the same genetic code, but were reared differently. They have the same temperament but speak different dialects. I’ve seen the first test patterns, it’s really crazy. This has never been done before, we learn more and more as we turn. The first scene with my two characters meeting each other is really disturbing. This is very cinematic, amazing and somehow shrill. You have an aha effect: [laughs] “Oh, that’s how cloning feels.”

Will Smith:
I’ve seen the first test patterns, it’s really crazy. This has never been done before, we learn more and more as we turn.

Will Smith: “Have the perfect 23-year-old avatar”

FILMSTARTS: How are you when you think about meeting your own self?

Will Smith: Because there’s simply no reference in this case, it’s never been done before, it’s exciting to find out what it feels like – an identical version of yourself, that’s not really a twin, it’s not like one own child, if you met in a figurative sense a younger version of yourself. We struggled to filter out the feelings. The first thing that came to my mind [laughs] was jealousy. The perfect, 23-year-old version of yourself, someone who has expelled the errors? [laughs] Someone who is not sexually unsure ?!

Will Smith:
We struggled to filter out the feelings.

Our set report on “Gemini Man”

That’s a completely different approach to a character. On the other hand, if you look from the younger version to the older one and find that it’s only a click away to gain just as much wisdom and strength. By the way, I keep telling my sons to test me out. It’s really fun to play through these different concepts and ideas. When we’re done with this movie, I have a perfect 23 year old avatar from me who can then make films for me. That’s pretty crazy.

That’s a completely different approach to a character. On the other hand, if you look from the younger version to the older one and find that it’s only a click away to gain just as much wisdom and strength.

On the emotional side, we are looking on the technical level for information on “Gemini Man”, Technical Supervisor Ben Gervais, Visual Effects Supervisor Bill Westenhofer and Stereo Supervisor Demetri Portelli.

FILMSTARTS: What exactly is your job, Ben?

Ben Gervais: My job is implementing technology. I make sure that she is filmable.

Ben Gervais:

FILMSTARTS: Why do you use the 120 fps technolo- gy [frames per second] at all?

Ben Gervais: Ang Lee believes that this technique allows much more intimacy between the audience and the people on the screen. If you see that, you will know what I mean.

Ben Gervais:

Demetri Portelli: It’s a big leap from 48 fps on “The Hobbit” to James Cameron’s 60 fps to 120 now. “Gemini Man” is only the second movie in this format after “The Crazy Hero of Billy Lynn”. What is the new aesthetics of digital cinema? But that’s a process: we need to find out what works and what does not work at high frame rate.

Demetri Portelli:
What is the new aesthetics of digital cinema? But that’s a process: we need to find out what works and what does not work at high frame rate.

“Ang Lee is not James Cameron, not even a Peter Jackson”

FILMSTARTS: Is Ang Lee a tech fanatic at all?

Ben Gervais: No, Ang is not a tech guy at all, he’s definitely not James Cameron. He is not even a Peter Jackson in terms of his technical ability. He sees a person on the screen and thinks about his connection to her. My job is to visualize that. Ang wanted a lot of intimacy and that’s how we came to this film format.

Ben Gervais:
Ang is not a tech guy at all, he’s definitely not James Cameron. He is not even a Peter Jackson in terms of his technical ability.

FILMSTARTS: Are you a little bit afraid of the audience’s reaction that it might refuse the high frame rate? In Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, the reactions to the 48 fps were very mixed and “The crazy Hero of Billy Lynn” is floppy …

Ben Gervais: Yes, sure. It would be stupid not to admit that. It is also an approximation. Maybe some viewers feel that the high frame rate rejects everything that has been seen on screen so far. Ang does not think so. And me neither. People have been making films for 100 years, a lot of art has been created during this time. To turn in 120 fps is not a rejection of the art, but a new tool that is now available to us. There will be a high frame rate version of the movie and a normal version. Everyone can then choose what they would like to see. From our point of view, the high-frame-rate version offers the best viewer experience.

Ben Gervais:
Maybe some viewers feel that the high frame rate rejects everything that has been seen on screen so far. Ang does not think so. And me neither.

Our set interview with “Gemini Man” director Ang Lee

Bill Westenhofer: The high frame rate makes this process of man-made creation even more difficult. There have been similar attempts last. In “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and in “Blade Runner 2049”. It worked well for the short time that computer-generated people [Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, and Sean Young] were on the screen. But we decided on the more difficult variant and created Will Smith completely digital at the age of 23 years. He and Junior are directly in the picture, fighting and interacting. For the first time we want to present a convincing, completely digital person on the screen. I think that “Gemini Man” will become a revolution like “Avatar”. This is the next holy grail of filmmaking.

Bill Westenhofer:
But we decided on the more difficult variant and created Will Smith completely digital at the age of 23 years.

FILMSTARTS: What is Ang Lee really like? Everyone is raving about him here …

Ben Gervais: Ang is the most visual of all the directors I’ve worked with. He wants to give the audience the experience of being in a room with the actors – a voyeuristic experience. 3D is an excellent way to achieve that.

Ben Gervais:
He wants to give the audience the experience of being in a room with the actors

Demetri Portelli: Ang Lee a purist like Alfred Hitchcock.

Demetri Portelli:

“Gemini Man” starts on October 3, 2019 in German cinemas.

“Gemini Man” starts on October 3, 2019 in German cinemas.
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Eric

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