Richard Ayoade, who you might remember for directing the coming-of-age comedy Submarine, has teamed up with DP Erik Wilson, VFX supervisor Matt Clarke, and Jesse Eisenberg to adapt Dostoyevsky's 1846 novella The Double. The Creators Project caught up with Ayoade to talk about the film's visual effects -- how they designed the quasi-familiar, dystopian future world, as well as how they managed to get not one, but two Jesse Eisenbergs on-screen through rotoscoping.
The Double is all about -- well -- doubles. The title character, Simon James, falls into madness when his doppelgänger James Simon slowly invades his life, and the VFX team knew they had to pay special attention not only to, of course, producing two Eisenbergs on-screen, but also designing a dystopian world in which to communicate and flesh out that madness. The creative team decided against green screening and opted for rotoscoping. Ayoade says to The Creators Project:
There wasn't any green screen. We weren't keying [Eisenberg] off, but it was all rotoscoped. Whenever two people were in the same frame, one of them had to be cut out using body doubles, and then removing that person and putting Jesse back in. Just a combination of a lot of care and attention to detail.
This might seem like a pretty straightforward process if you know what you're doing, but the challenge of rotoscoping was exacerbated when Ayoade decided to shoot on film.
We shot it on film -- which is not generally what you'd be advised to do with motion control. Film flutters in the gate, your image is weaving slightly, so to composite these two layers together, they have to stabilize this film weave. But we wanted it to be on film, to have that texture and grain, and to sort these things out later.
Take a look at The Creators Project video below to learn all about The Double, from the intriguing narrative to the approach to the VFX.
The Double is now in theaters nationwide as of today.
What do you think about the behind the scenes video of The Double? What do you think about Ayoade and his team's approach to the film's VFX? Let us know in the comments!