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Digital Brando - Bringing Marlon Brando back for Superman

Rhythm & Hues (R&H) Bringing back Brando

At the time of the 1978 Superman, much was made of the very high salary paid to Marlon Brando for a relatively short amount of screen time.

It was therefore a good investment to reuse sections of that footage in the new Superman Returns, especially as the great actor passed away in 2004.

As mentioned earlier, R&H did the digital repurposing of Marlon Brando.

All the lines that Brando delivered were actually recorded by the actor when he was alive, but some were only recorded as audio and almost none were recorded from the right camera angle.

To solve this Brando's mouth was modeled and then tracked on to his actual face from another take. This requires the dual skills of carefully lip syncing the new lines and very accurately modeling and texturing his face.

To really sell the shot one of the secrets for polishing the shot is to adjust the textures of the mapped mouth, thus avoiding the skin texture stretching.

To do this the R&H team placed patches of moving texture from original footage to blend the digital mouths with his real face.

Once this was achieved, the image could be projected over a 3D model of Brando's head allowing for the camera to now view the lines from the side of his head, when it was only every filmed in 1978 directly face on.

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