'Avengers: Endgame' VFX Supervisor Reveals Secrets to Aging, De-Aging Characters in 'Behind the Screen' Podcast

Avengers: Endgame Still 24 - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Avengers: Endgame

Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Dan DeLeeuw talks about the complex effects work required on Avengers: Endgame — encompassing 2500 visual-effect shots shared by a dozen VFX houses — and wrapping up the popular franchise in a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter's Behind the Screen podcast series.

These effects included aging and de-aging characters, creating a CG Thanos and "Smart Hulk," building CG environments and incorporating practical effects — as well as saying an emotional farewell to favorite characters and crew.

To create the young Michael Douglas, DeLeeuw asked director Joe Russo, "Do you want Romancing the Stone Michael Douglas or The China Syndrome Michael Douglas or Streets of San Francisco Michael Douglas?" According to DeLeeuw, Russo requested the Streets of San Francisco-era Douglas.

Creating the old Captain Marvel involved practical makeup, though the majority of the work was digital. "The most important thing is preserving Chris Evans' performance," explained DeLeeuw.

As for "blowing things up" with the special effects team, the VFX supervisor recalled, "Those are the best days. 'Hey, we are blowing up something on second unit.' So then everyone goes to second unit.”

No stranger to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Deleeuw has also been the VFX supervisor on Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Solider, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

Hosted by Carolyn Giardina, Behind the Screen features cinematographers, editors, VFX supervisors and other talent behind the making of motion pictures, TV and streaming content.

Hear it all below on Behind the Screen — and be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an exciting episode.