NPR’s “Building the Curious Faces of Benjamin Button”: Hollywood Actors Becoming Obsolete?

18 02 2009

Although The Curious Case of Benjamin Button wasn’t the best Oscar nominee, it certainly was the most technologically advanced.

NPR’s Laura Sydell reported an excellent story on the station’s Tuesday “All Things Considered” show which told the real story of the case of Benjamin Button– and it was definitely curious.

” ‘There’s 325 shots — 52 minutes of the film — where there is no actual footage of Brad,” says Steve Preeg, a character supervisor at Digital Domain, the studio that did all the special effects for the film. “He’s not in any of the shots.” ‘ reports Sydell.

“…’What the audience is actually seeing in the first third of the movie is a computer-generated copy of Pitt’s head, which the studio aged digitally. If it acts like Pitt on the screen, that’s because Pitt was filmed performing all of the scenes from the first third of the movie — and the special effects gurus then mimicked his movements on the digital head.’ ”

Sydell’s story about Digital Domain, the company that engineered the older Brad Pitt onto the child’s body, points to a thrilling and chilling possibility; that the need for human actors may someday run dry.

“Given the long history of demanding, egotistical movie stars, there’s no reason to think that Hollywood won’t take advantage of the new technology to cut the big names out of the picture,” reports Sydell.

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