A lot of the magic of cinema comes from the fact that these movies show us a world so believable that it makes you forget that it was only made possible with green screens and CGI. While most films that use these tricks are quite identifiable, some aren’t so much. That’s why we’re here to give you our list of five movies you didn’t realize were filmed with a green screen.
Life of Pi
If you’ve seen Life of Pi, you probably know that the tiger featured in the film wasn’t real. However, did you know that no actual ocean filming took place? That can be shocking to realize since a decent chunk of this movie takes place on open waters. The filmmakers faked it because the actual sea is too unpredictable for filming purposes. Instead, they opted to use a shallow pool and a green screen.
Period pieces used to be quite the hassle in Hollywood since you had to make sure all the props and backgrounds used were period-accurate. Thanks to CGI, moviemakers can create many of these sets and props from scratch in post-production. This helped make The Great Gatsby quite the visual marvel. It was an accurate representation of 1920s New York while also being stylized in a way that one can only truly achieve through green screen usage.
When it comes to big-budget action films, no one is shocked when filmmakers heavily use green screens and CGI. However, some studios put in the effort to make them look as authentic as possible. The way that filmmakers created the scene of the giant wave hitting the Golden Gate Bridge in the disaster movie, San Andreas, is one such example. Instead of using CGI for the entire effect, the team made a miniature of the bridge, set it up on a green screen, and splashed a bucket of water on it, adding to the realism of the shot.
Typically, movies use backdrops and painted cyclorama walls for green screen usage, but in some films, they get a little more creative. Near the beginning of filming the movie Tag, Jeremy Renner broke his arms. Rather than delay the film, the crew decided to wrap his casts in green screen material and edit his arms back in during post. The result was good enough that most people didn’t know that they did it that way in the first place.
Iron Man 3
While it comes as no shock that the Marvel movies use green screens, many don’t know that filmmakers used them to entirely edit Robert Downey Jr. into parts of Iron Man 3 after the actor suffered an ankle injury near the end of filming. Instead of waiting for him to recover, they filmed the final scenes without him and used some impressive green screen trickery and a stunt double to edit him back in afterward. We had to include this entry in our list of movies you didn’t realize were filmed with a green screen. It’s not every day that you can completely replace the actor with these techniques.