Ang Lee Talks Digital Humans, Cinematic Innovation and 'Gemini Man'

The Oscar-winning director 'Life of Pi' and "Brokeback Mountain' is featured in a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter's 'Behind the Screen.'
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Ang Lee

Ang Lee — who won Oscars for directing Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain — is featured in a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter's Behind the Screen podcast series.

During the conversation, the filmmaker discusses his new movie, the Paramount/Skydance thriller Gemini Man starring Will Smith, along with innovation in visual effects and the future of cinema exhibition.

Gemini Man stars Smith as Henry, an elite assassin who is hunted by a clone of his younger self. To have Smith and his younger self appear as leads, including in the same shots, Lee reteamed with Life of Pi's VFX supervisor Bill Westenhofer and the VFX team at Weta to create a fully digital, emotive Will Smith.

“I believed it was time to try a digital human,” the director says. “With humans, we are a lot more critical [of the effects] — it’s us. But in my head, it’s workable, there’s a methodology. It’s using technology as a tool for art.”

Of the work, Lee explains, “You had to build the character, the detail and really study human details and the performance from our actor. I believe that’s what you have to do if that’s your lead character."

He also discusses his groundbreaking production in native 3D, 4K and at a high frame rate of 120 frames per second, along with his views on the future of cinema.

Hosted by THR tech editor Carolyn Giardina, Behind the Screen features interviews with directors, cinematographers, editors and other artists behind the making of motion pictures and series.

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