As most fans know, Robert Downey Jr. busted up his ankle and was sidelined for nearly six weeks right in the middle of filming Iron Man 3. So how’d they keep production on schedule and still hit that release date earlier this month? They made their own Robert Downey Jr.
In an interesting post at CGSociety, some of the FX gurus behind the Marvel sequel explain how they worked around Downey’s ankle injury by reconstructing him on set with body doubles and facial FX. The process involved no fewer than 17 FX studios, including Marvel’s in-house team, but they made it work.
Here’s an excerpt:
Together with face replacement and full body doubles, somewhere there was a solution to the problem of not having Robert Downey Jr. on set for the time,” explains VFX supervisor Chris Townsend. “The collective VFX Supes and unit leads ran into a room as soon as the incident happened to try to ascertain what sequences could they shoot.
It was also very important with regards to VFX that they were able to collect background plates, data, lighting and lens info, and the rest of the crew were incredibly obliging with regards to that,” adds Townsend. “We were able to reconstruct RDJ as Tony Stark onset, with the help of that body double and the facial captures we’d collected afterwards...
It really was a grueling show to work on, but the result I believe is tremendous,” Townsend says. “Seven-day weeks and 14- to 18-hour days, and its brutal. It’s just what you have to do. You can only do it with the right group of people, and we had a phenomenal group of people working on this movie.”
Hey, if Downey doesn't sign back on for more sequels, they could always just make their own version of him! But seriously, did you happen to notice that Tony Stark was looking a little more digital than usual in the threequel, or did the FX team manage to pull off this feat of movie magic?