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Task of Making Chris Evans’ ‘Captain America’ Scrawny Proves Challenging

20 July 2011 No Comment

Scrawny to Brawny: Chris Evans' Startling Digital Transformation

When Marvel’s Captain America hits the big screen this Friday, audiences will most likely be amazed at the central character’s startling transformation.

According to the well-known story, the character of Captain America starts out as an underweight kid, who is interested in serving his country in the fight against the Nazis during World War II.  To accomplish that, he’s given an experimental serum that transforms his 90-pound frame into a six-foot tall, well muscled form.

But how to accomplish that convincingly on camera?  Ah, well.  Technology to the rescue.

Because actor Chris Evans packed on more than 15 pounds of muscle to play the role, there was no way to transform him into the pre-serum Steve Rodgers.  Joe Johnston, the film’s director, initially thought that he could simply hire a body double, and super-impose the buff actor’s head onto a smaller body.  But it soon became apparent that this technique wouldn’t work:

Chris moves in such a unique way; he doesn’t move like anybody else.  The body double could not move like him. As hard as he tried to watch Chris and duplicate the movements, it just wasn’t the same.

To get the look they were after, the production team actually employed a technique to digitally shrink Evans on film.  Essentially, through computers, they erased part of his physique, taking in parts of him until he resembled the gaunt pre-serum Steve they had in mind.  They even altered the actor’s jawline to make the makeover seamless. 

The effect was not with its challenges; because the technique left empty space around the actor in shots, background space had to be filled in with the use of green screen technology.  Evans says that the digital makeover is convincing, though.  “It’s pretty amazing,” he said.

If you’re interested in seeing Evans’ startling transformation for yourself, be sure to check out Captain America, which opens this Friday, July 22, in theatres everywhere.

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