It's common for celebrities to show up on Super Bowl commercials. What's not so common is when the cameos involve celebrities that have long since been deceased. And yet, that's exactly what's happened in the 2016 Snickers Super Bowl ad, which just so happens to star Willem Dafoe and the late actress Marilyn Monroe. While reenacting the iconic subway grate scene from The Seven Year Itch, Dafoe (as The Girl) proved to be quite the diva and started snapping at everyone on set. That is, until he had a bite of a Snickers bar, which instantly transformed him back into the lovely Miss Monroe who claimed to feel "much better" now that her hunger had been quenched. And while it's definitely an entertaining clip, it made me extremely curious to know how the Marilyn Monroe Snickers Super Bowl ad was made.
Now, let me start right off by saying that I do not consider myself a digital expert by any means. However, considering that this commercial is very reminiscent to the one involving The Brady Bunch Snickers ad from last year starring Danny Trejo — which found the actor eventually morphing back into Marcia Brady — I figured the process would be relatively similar. And thankfully, Nathan Kane, the digital mastermind behind the ordeal, has since opened up about how he accomplished such a feat, which not only involved rebuilding the famous set, but also using digital mouth replacements — most of which, I imagine, had to be done for Monroe's cameo as well.
According to FXGuide.com, Kane explained how he had lined up stand-in actors “in the exact same position" as their original Brady Bunch counterparts. "We shot them against green screen with their head locked in position as much as we could - they had a head rest to lean against so they wouldn’t move their head as much." This was footage that they later re-projected back onto each character's own mouths, hence how it looks as though they are the ones actually saying the words...
Of course, there's a lot more to do it than this, but I doubt you want me to go into that much detail about it. (Like I could even if you did.) But it does help to give you a general idea of how this digital magic for Monroe most likely came to be. It's incredible what technology allows people to do these days and further proves that even when we lose someone, they're never truly gone for good.
And just in case you're interested, here is the original clip from that historic Monroe scene. Just try comparing the two Monroes against each other and see if you can tell a difference. It's harder than you might think, thereby making it all the more impressive.