A young Harrison Ford will grace cinema screens for 25 minutes this summer — aided by some new Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) software. The news that LucasFilm's Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny would feature a de-aged Ford came at the end of last year, but an interview with director James Mangold in Total Film just revealed it will be for almost a fifth of the film's running time.
The fifth Indiana Jones iteration starts with an opening scene from 1944 — about eight years after Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark took place. "My hope is that, although it will be talked about in terms of technology, you just watch it and go, ‘Oh my God, they just found footage. This was a thing they shot 40 years ago," Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm and a producer, told Empire. The rest of the movie shoots forward to 1969, with Indy on a mission to prevent a comeback of Nazism.
The news of Ford's extended return to his thirties comes a few months after Disney, which produced the movie alongside LucasFilm, announced it had built an AI that could make an actor appear older or younger with relative ease at the end of last year. The researchers behind the AI, known as FRAN (face re-aging network), explained it would only work with real people if there were images available of the person in those poses and lighting at a younger age.
Footage of Ford's earlier roles was pulled from the Lucasfilm archives to accomplish this. Ford also acted with dots across his face to aid the system — and with the agility of a young man, according to Mangold. Then, the technology would quickly do its thing. Mangold would "shoot Harrison on a Monday as, you know, a 79-year-old playing a 35-year-old, and I could see dailies by Wednesday with his head already replaced."