Gemini Man finally opens on October 11, over two decades after the script was initially conceived. The process that led to its creation took almost as long as the ongoing process of human cloning itself. The script saw the light of a film set thanks to the perseverance of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the vision of director Ang Lee. Bruckheimer himself sang Lee’s praises in a recent interview with Screen Rant, as well as shared more about the Gemini Man’s journey from page to screen.
Mr. Bruckheimer, you are a legend. It is an honor to meet you. You guys push the limits of filmmaking in this one with Gemini Man. I know the script has been around for something like 22 years. How long were you involved with the project and getting it to the screen?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Well, 16 years. But the technology just wasn't there then; we had to wait. We did some tests very early on, and it just didn't look right. You could tell it was phony until Ang Lee came aboard and said, “I did a tiger. I think I can do this.” But nobody knew, including him. He was very skeptical that he could pull it off. But he was very confident. So, he had this confidence; this quiet confidence in between him and the technicians at Weta [Digital] that they could do it.
And what we did is we did a test very early on; we took a scene from Bad Boys, where they're both sitting in the car. And in one angle, we replaced Will with the young Will; our digital version of Will. I couldn't tell the difference. So, you went from Martin to the digital Will back to Martin to the real Will, and you cannot tell the difference.
Wow. Even watching this, it kind of blew my mind. But then you get so used to seeing them on screen together that you almost forget that it's a digital person. It is seamless. When was it that you knew you wanted to make this film and bring it to the screen?
Jerry Bruckheimer: When I first read the script, I thought the script was really entertaining and interesting. It just had to wait for the technology. As I said, we did these tests and it was phony.
Will Smith, you've worked with him in the past, and by the way, I grew up on all your movies. This is my thing. Why was he the right man to play Henry Brogan?
Jerry Bruckheimer: It’s very difficult to find an actor who was a star when he was younger, and a star when he's older. They're very few. And the hardest part for us is Will didn’t age that much. So, we had to make him look older, actually. We had to put gray hair on him and do all kinds of things to make him look a little older.
There's definitely a moral conundrum here with cloning. I'll be honest with you – I was telling Clive, and he got a kick out of it – but there's points where I kind of agree with Clay’s point of view. Where do you kind of fall in the line of this?
Jerry Bruckheimer: I'm not a fan of it. I don't think it's right, but it's not up to me. Advances keep coming; I know they're cloning dogs. It’s scary.
It is scary. We’re getting into this very eerie realm. You guys dive into the themes of nature versus nurture, as well. Can you talk to me about Clive and Junior’s relationship?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Yeah, I think he's a caring, giving father. It's just he's on the wrong track. He's turned this young boy into an assassin. And I guess, in his head, it's an experiment. So, he's manipulating Junior the whole time.
You said when you met Ang and talked to him about the project, he had this quiet confidence about him. Can you talk to me about the working relationship you had with Ang Lee and why you were so confident in his ability to do Gemini Man? Because he pulled it off great.
Jerry Bruckheimer: Well, when you look at his work – you have to stand on your work. And you look at the two Academy Awards; every film is different. Every film. Some of them are personal stories, some of them are big action movies, but he gets to the essence of it right away. He's a very thinking man. And the way he sees the scene is totally different, [given] how he wants an audience to feel something. It's pretty interesting to listen to him talk about a certain scene and what he sees in it and how he sees the character evolving.
The frame rate was 120 frames per second. It was beautiful, like watching through a mirror. Can you talk to me a little bit about that?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Well, what's so interesting about it is that the character’s in the theater with you. It's so clear and clean. You couldn't use hardly any makeup. There's no motion blur, so you don't have to have fast cuts. Like most action films that cut, cut, cut, cut. Whereas this one, it's happening right in front of you. It's unbelievable. It's almost like video games; when kids watch video games, a lot of those are going 120 frames, so it has that same kind of clarity.
People have to watch this in 3D; it's amazing.
- Gemini Man (2019) release date: Oct 11, 2019