January 16, 2018

AVClub: Blade Runner 2049 Brought Humanity to Today’s Most Artificial Movie Gimmick

There’s a scene near the end of Blade Runner 2049 where Rachael, who was played by Sean Young in the Blade Runner of 1982, walks out of the dark and back into Rick Deckard’s life, if briefly. The visual is stunning. It’s her, and yet it can’t be her. Rachael is dead, and Sean Young is thirty-five years older. Yet a near-perfect replica of that original character is walking and talking in that scene.

During my fourth time through the film this past weekend, I paused to freeze Rachael at the moment she approached Deckard closest and spoke to him. We took a long, close look at her image. Kelly mentioned CGI, but I wondered if it was a different, very similar-looking actress. IMDb gave us a small clue, crediting Loren Peta as “Rachael Performance Double.”

It turns out we were both correct. Here’s how Peta became a near-replica of Sean Young’s Rachael:

Sean O’Neal — AVClub:

Getting Rachael’s two minutes of screen time exactly right required an entire year of work from visual effects supervisor John Nelson, as well as the participation of both Young and her stand-in, British actress Loren Peta. Young, who leveraged her appearance into a production job for her son, was able to be present on set while still maintaining some outward secrecy while Peta acted opposite Ford and Leto, even helping the hairstylist recreate Rachael’s retro-’40s coif. Later, both actresses spent a day performing Rachael’s lines in facial capture rigs for the visual effects studio MPC, who also took a scan of Young’s head and used it to create an anatomically correct 3-D skull. (You can see photos of it in IndieWire, in case you don’t want to sleep tonight.) From there the team went back to pure hand animation in order to flesh out everything about Young’s memorable makeup and mannerisms, copying her sly smile and the subtle raise of her eyebrows, and even inserted three digital recreations of shots from the original film to make it all seamless. It also added some genuine flyaway hairs, for that authentic Replicant feel.

Four times through, the effect is still mesmerizing.

#BladeRunner2049 #film #CGI