Turning back the clock on Dr. Ford
Normally, de-aging visual effects are the domain of major movie productions. Think of the young Michael Douglas in Ant-Man or the "youthified" Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War. But Westworld's makers tackled the same kind of shots in the third episode's flashback to young Ford.
"We took a scan of Sir Tony and used that as our base," explains Worth, "and then used a ton of photography and reference to figure out what we wanted him to look like. I think it ended up turning out really, really incredible."
Visual-effects studio Important Looking Pirates, in Sweden, was responsible for the shots. It made a photorealistic CG version of Hopkins from the scan and reference, and then placed that on the body of a stand-in. What made the shots particularly challenging, says Worth, was that the visual-effects team was conscious of a certain perception Hopkins has among audiences.
"America doesn't really remember Sir Tony before Silence of the Lambs. Obviously we found every reference we could from every movie and every photo and everything from the correct timeframe. But it really came down to what feels most like our character in the past, as much as anything."