'Gemini Man' Footage Reaction: Will Smith Gets De-Aged In The Ang Lee Thriller [CinemaCon 2019]

Gemini Man is a sci-fi movie that has spent decades in development, attracting the likes of Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood to the role of an over-the-hill hitman who finds himself targeted by a younger clone of himself. But it wasn't until now, when de-aging technology has become the hottest new commodity in blockbusters, that Gemini Man could finally become a reality.

Now set to star Will Smith and be directed by Ang LeeGemini Man will finally hit theaters more than two decades after the film was first pitched in 1997. /Film's own Peter Sciretta and Ben Pearson are attending CinemaCon is Las Vegas this year and got a sneak peek at the first footage of Gemini Man.

Will Smith couldn't be on hand for the Gemini Man presentation, but he sent over a video where he said the film gave him some surprising emotional and physical challenges. Ang Lee got more specific about one of the challenges, which included Will Smith regressing back to his earlier days in acting when he wasn't as good of an actor as he is now. Lee said Smith really had to work to shed his experience and regain the innocence he had so many years ago.

Even though Gemini Man is an action movie, Will Smith it also has a lot to say about what we can learn from our younger selves. Smith called it, "a marriage of nuanced relatable characters with action." Perhaps that's why Lee, 64 years old, says the film is "very precious" to him.

The footage was presented in 3D, which really showcased the action in an impressive way. But at the same time, Peter said the movie had a vibe that was more akin to Blade Runner 2049 instead of a typical action blockbuster. Considering the premise of the movie, perhaps something like Looper is also an appropriate comparison. But there was still plenty of room for action including a motorcycle chase where the young Will Smith and old Will Smith are racing towards each other, only for one to veer and smash a motorcycle directly into a car.

Henry (Old Will Smith) was one of the best hitmen 25 years ago, so a clone was made of him by Clive Owen's cloning program. This young version of Will Smith has now been tasked with killing the older version. But during the chase, the targeted older Will Smith is always a step ahead of the young one, referred to as Junior. But he doesn't realize this until after they come face-to-face with each other. Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Danny, the operative assigned to surveil Henry, seems to realize this sooner, which might explain why she ends up teaming up with Henry to fight back against their employer.

Junior isn't exactly thrilled with the prospect of being told by Clive Owen to kill the older version of himself. It seems like Owen is the mastermind behind this strange situation, but his motivations and reasoning are unclear. Old Will Smith even asks, "Of all the people in the world to come after me, why would he send you?" In fact, with the exception of the layout of the basic premise, much of what happened only raised more questions since the footage was so brief and fast.

The real selling point here is that there are two Will Smiths, the one we know today, and the one who looks like he's from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and they're going to fight each other. And maybe they'll learn from each other too? After all, both Ben and Peter said the movie felt like it would focus more on the psychological aspect of this confrontation with some action thrown in here and there.

The technology used to bring young Will Smith looks every bit as good as what Marvel Studios did to bring a younger Samuel L. Jackson to life in Captain Marvel. In fact, Ben said it might even be better.

Overall, the footage looked good, but Ang Lee still has about of month of work to do before it's finished.

Gemini Man opens in theaters on October 11, 2019.