PRODUCTION COMPANY: Warner Bros
Director: David Fincher
The story of a man born old who ages backward, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button posed significant production challenges for a live action feature. Director David Fincher approached Digital Domain with a vision and a the company responded with pioneering work that was recognized with an Academy Award for Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Barba and character supervisor Steve Preeg. Fincher challenged Barba and the Digital Domain team to achieve what was considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of visual effects: create a completely believable computer generated human being. Specifically, create and maintain a physically and emotionally authentic CG head and face that carries the performance of iconic actor Brad Pitt as he ages backward from 87 to 63 (physically) while maturing emotionally. Digital Domain created and integrated CG heads with three different body actors, and drove the character’s every move with Pitt’s performance and facial expressions to deliver a seamless performance for 52 minutes of the movie, over 325 shots, while the character interacts with live actors in extreme closeup, naked, and in other demanding situations. The sheer number of individual hair, skin, eyes, overall animation, lighting, compositing and tracking – was a massive undertaking. Digital Domain’s work also encompassed on-set supervision for all visual effects work, along with pre-vis, compositing and matte painting work on a number of sequences throughout the film.