Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) invoked '90s nostalgia in "Captain America: Civil War" in two really cool scenes: when he chatted with his "Only You" (1994) co-star Marisa Tomei (Aunt May) and when he appeared as a much-younger Tony alongside Tony's parents.
The latter was particularly striking as the actor looked very much as he did in his films from the late '80s and the early '90s. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the teenage Stark was created by visual effects artists at Lola VFX.
The company, which uses the latest visual effects technology, was also employed by Marvel when it needed a younger version of Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) in "Ant-Man" (2015). Lola VFX was also responsible for "de-aging" Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008), which won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
In an interview with THR, Lola VFX visual effects supervisor Trent Claus talked about the process of creating a teenage Stark, saying, "It is a similar process to Photoshop that uses some similar tools, but unlike Photoshop which is done on a single image, we have 24 frames per second of footage."
According to Claus, working on a famous actor such as RDJ was tricky because a good portion of the "Civil War" audience still remembers what the actor looked like when he was younger. To create a youthful Stark, Lola VFX analyzed footage of Downey, Jr. in films such as "Less Than Zero" (1987), when he was in his early 20s.
To create the hologram of young Tony in "Civil War," the visual effects team first had Downey, Jr. performing the scene. "Instead of completely replacing the actor with a digital double, this method allowed us to retain the actor's performance and nuances," Claus said. "Then we began to adjust the on-set footage of Tony Stark through digital compositing."
Meanwhile, "Civil War" screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely recently explained the reason for Nick Fury's (Samuel L. Jackson) absence in the critically acclaimed Marvel superhero ensemble.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the "Civil War" scribes said that adding Fury, the one responsible for putting the Avengers together, into the mix would have introduced a whole slew of questions that the film just did not have time to answer.
"Let the parent go away, and see if the kids can handle this," Markus said. "See if the kids can be who they're supposed to be without that governing voice."
"Captain America: Civil War" is currently in theaters.