Exploding into cinemas on 11 October, Ang Lee’s Gemini Man is a sci-fi spectacular so good you’ll want to see it twice. Here's what you should expect from the film and why it's going to change special effects in cinema...
If you notice that Gemini Man’s visuals look smoother and more detailed than most movies, that’s no accident. This project saw Ang Lee employ his preferred 3D film-making technique (look out for the same effect soon in Avatar 2) and the higher frame rates that he could use to create eye-catching effects.
Filming at 120fps, Lee says Gemini Man feels more alive and immersive, like the scenes are playing out right in front of you: “I believe in it. It’s a new medium. It’s full of potential. It’s a new language.”
The 3D+ HFR is an evolutionary digital format that gives audiences an amplified, fully-immersive 3D experience:
After a quarter-century of killing for his country, troubled government assassin Henry Brogan (Will Smith) is ready to quit the game. But when he finds himself pursued by a younger killer with an uncanny ability to read his moves, he suspects that dark forces have a deadly ‘retirement package’ in mind.
Of course, this being Ang Lee, there’s a twist – as Brogan discovers the hitman on his tail is a 23-year-old clone named Junior. “With the two Will Smiths, the feeling is kind of existential,” says Lee. “It makes you wonder about your own existence, what would you tell your younger self.”
Gemini Man is another gem for the director’s filmography, managing to elevate the action genre to something far more thought-provoking.
As Smith says: “I’ve been wanting to work with Ang my whole career. It feels so great to surrender to that kind of artist…”
With the first drafts of Gemini Man going right back to 1997, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars have been in the frame for the dual role of Brogan and Junior. But Lee couldn’t have found a better leading man than Will Smith.
As we’ve seen from films like 1998’s Enemy of the State, Smith can handle edgy, urban, government skulduggery-themed grit better than anyone. As Lee says: “This is the biggest movie star, and there’s a reason why we worked with him.”
For Gemini Man, Lee and the team at Weta Digital went one better, creating a complete digital version of Junior based on Smith’s old movies like Bad Boys, and bringing it to life by putting a head rig and tracking dots on the actor to capture his facial expressions.
“They created an avatar that is a 100% digital character,” explains Smith. “So I essentially voiced the character. What Ang has done is revolutionary and spectacular.”