Lee also pushed for Will Smith's clone, Junior, to be an entirely CG character. He's not just de-aged like Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel -- he's built completely from the ground up by Weta Digital to recapture Smith in his youth. So, in a way, Junior is more closely related to Gollum from Lord of the Rings than an actual human who's had a bit of computer-assisted wrinkle reduction. His performance is motion captured by Will Smith and stuntmen, and his face his painstakingly recreated by Weta. This allows Junior to both move like a younger man, but also tap into Will Smith's talents for his facial movements.
"The man gave peace of his heart," Lee said. "He actually has to act harder than his usual job. No, ten times harder. If you'd like to talk about hard, Junior has it hard, a lot more than a real person. The investment we put into it to try to make believe that was a hundred times harder than just directing an actor or movie star."
Lee doesn't seem too concerned about actors just becoming digital characters that we can easily manipulate in the future, like the film The Congress. "But anything can happen," he says. Junior isn't a perfect digital facsimile of young Will Smith -- at times, you can easily tell that the facial rendering feels a bit off -- but he's a big step towards seeing completely digital actors in more films.
No matter how Gemini Man ends up being received -- it currently sits at 24 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and has grossed just $20.6 million in its first weekend -- Lee still plans to continue chipping away at the possibilities of digital cinema.
"Digital is more attractive to me now because it's harder," he said. "I'm curious, I have so many questions... It's not like I'm like 36 or something. I'm in a hurry to find some answers to those questions. And it seems like every answer I get, then 10 questions open up."