Ever take a closer look at all the tiny old man baby stills from David Fincher's new backwards aging tale The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button? Did you find yourself remarking at how the little old man resembled the younger (looking) bigger and taller version that Brad Pitt plays? That's because new special effects technology allowed the filmmakers to put Pitt's face on that wrinkled, baby body.Taking on the story of a reverse aging man is no easy task. In an interview with The New York Times director David Fincher discusses the process and, "was it possible to make somebody age, to make a character you could follow from the time he’s four feet tall and 85 years old until the time he’s 25 inches long and 6 months old and dying?" With patience and some incredible high-tech sculpting and CG work, the special effects team managed to transplant Brad Pitt's aged face right on top of the tiny old man bodies they used through out the film. According to Fincher:
We put our faith in a higher power that we would be able to figure out the performance-capture methodology. [Benjamin] lives on a boat and is a seaman for most of his life. We had these photographs of Andrew Wyeth. We loved the wrinkles in his face and the great compassion and wisdom that his face betrayed. We started with that and did sculptures based on life casts of Brad. We would hollow away material, take mass away from his cheeks, get more skulling around the eyes, do very fine wrinkling, do all this and scan it into a computer.
According the New York Times:
When it came time for Mr. Pitt to record his dialogue, a scanner was used to capture his facial movements. The results of the scan were used to manipulate the 3-D database of his digitally aged face, generating an almost literal “talking head.” “We would take that and put it back in the scene on the shoulders of actors who were cast to play Benjamin at the different ages,” Mr. Fincher said. “All of this would go into a pipeline, and 15 months after that we would be able to look at little Benjamin and know what he would look like when he was 5 years old.
Fincher also went into great detail about how different his movie is from the F. Scott Fitzgerald's original short story. Fincher's movie is a love story, but not just love for one person (although that appears to be a large part of the film) but for those around him as well. I can't wait to see a David Fincher love story told by a backwards aging baby. Benjamin Button will be released on December 25, 2008. [NYT]