How Did The Young Rock Happen In 'Central Intelligence'? The Answer Involves An Internet Star

If there is one genre of film that will never go out of style, it's the buddy comedy. From classic pairs in Hollywood's Golden Age like Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, and Hope and Crosby, up until more modern times with films like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Tommy Boy, and The Heat, these films always find an audience. The newest pairing sees Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin Hart join forces in Central Intelligence, but the craziest thing about the film isn't the size disparity between its actors, it's the special effects used to make the young Rock. So how did they accomplish this feat?

In the movie, Johnson portrays Bob, who is a top-shelf CIA agent and assassin, but in high school, he was an overweight kid whom other students made fun of. Anyone who's seen The Rock knows that the guy is a physical specimen. He's a notoriously hard worker in the gym and he eats a diet that's become the stuff of legend (he literally hasn't tasted candy since the '80s). So turning him into an overweight high schooler could not have been an easy task. It's obvious that he didn't gain the weight for real, but it's also clear that he's not wearing prosthetics, either. So that leaves just one option: CGI special effects.

If you think The Rock's dance moves look familiar, you're right. The body in the scene actually belongs to none other than internet dance sensation Sione Kelepi. He and The Rock were merged together by a combination of computer animation, 3D facial scans, and motion capture. Weta Digital, who worked on The Avengers, accomplished the effect, which took a total of six months (they also had to digitally de-age Johnson's face). 

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Director Rawson Thurber was astounded by how seamless the effect ended up being, as he told Entertainment Weekly, "I was so surprised with how photo-real and believable the final product was. You get rough versions, and then the next thing they send you is the version where your breath kind of catches in your throat." That it does indeed. 

It's kind of crazy to think how much work went into just one sequence in the film, but you can't deny that it paid off. To see more of The Rock's shocking transformation, check out Central Intelligence when it hits theaters on June 17.

Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; Giphy

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