How the Young Arnold Was Created for the Film “Terminator: Genesis”

If you long to look at Arnold Schwarzenegger, you can see a small fracture of the nose, and that his face, like everyone else, is slightly asymmetrical, which is especially noticeable in the movement. ” One eye is always a little wider than the other,” says Sheldon Stopsak, a specialist in special effects, whose shoulders formed the creation of one of the most plague action scenes of the summer. In the ” Terminator: Genesis ” time-traveling robot assassin Schwarzenegger must fight, no more, no less, with a young man. “The best compliment for us will be if people decide that we used footage from the 1984 film, ” says producer David Ellison.


arnold schwarzenegger body double


But this is not so. In the James Cameron film ” Terminator ” there is a scene that has become cult: in the midst of flashes of lightning and smoke on the site of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles appears a naked man. After a few seconds, he easily beats the crap out of three punks and takes their clothes. For “Genesis,” movie makers had to recreate one of the key moments of the original, but with a slight twist. This time, the Terminator arises in the same place, with the sole mission of destroying Sarah Connor (Emilia Clark). However, it is not only with the punks, but also with his old copy, the heroic cyborg that replaced the young Sarah father. The young and old Terminators (between them thirty years old) mesh in a fierce battle, while the punks overlook the battle with admiration. Schwarzenegger, who is now 67, adores this scene. «It seems to me, to my age came with the mind , – says the actor. ” A very thoughtful process .”

It should be so, because for one scene it took a lot of effort from the whole team to design and create a completely digital copy of Schwarzenegger. Nothing like this (in a similar volume with a live actor on the screen) has been done before. When Stopsak, who had previously worked with the “Guardians of the galaxy” and “X-Men: Days of the Past”, first heard the plan to create a synthetic actor (synthesiapience), he simultaneously experienced joy and horror. ” Absolutely insane, at least because of the complexity of the task alone ,” he says. ” Working on a digital person is something like the Holy Grail for visual effects .”

An ambitious undertaking required a lot of time from Stopsak and his team of animators and designers: they worked for 12 tense months to create material that in the film takes only five minutes.


brett azar


Stoppsak and special effects supervisor Yanek Sirrs had to go through every shot, every millimeter of film that ever captured Schwarzenegger, and even plunged into the documentary 1977 “Pumping Iron.” ” I think they saw more photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger than anyone on the planet,” says producer David Allison. Work on the stage was to the last moment and it was completed half an hour before the final print was given to the producers for viewing.

The process of creating a digital copy of the young Schwarzenegger can be decomposed into three steps:

Step One: Find a Suitable Understudy

The film crew scoured the world, searching for a man of suitable dimensions. In the end, we stopped at the twenty-seven-year-old Australian bodybuilder Brett Azar. ” Brett was the only one who suited our parameters,” says Ellison. ” And it turned out that he considers Arnold his idol .” On the set, Azar had to face Schwarzenegger, when they shot the fight of two Terminators. And only then the team of special effects specialists joined.


arnold schwarzenegger


Step Two: Create a Digital Face

Each detail of the face of Schwarzenegger was stored in a huge library of images, which animators used to create a young version. The animators also held a session of a mock-up with Schwarzenegger to capture the original facial expressions. ” We took the results of the mock-up and tried to put them on a young copy to smooth the difference in years,” says Stopsak.

Step Three: Work Out the Movements

Numerous shots with Schwarzenegger from the documentary, “Pumping Iron,” formed the basis for the construction of the young Arnold. They helped to recreate everything from the chest to the buttocks. ” Arnold has a unique body, we had to move away from simple understudies,” says Stopsak. ” We almost completely replaced Brett with a digital copy to give the scene a proper level of credibility .”

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