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Mads Mikkelsen Agreed to Be De-Aged in ‘Indiana Jones 5’ to Avoid Looking ‘Like an Old Woman’

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” turned heads with its opening scene that featured a de-aged Harrison Ford fighting Nazis in a castle before being pursued by Mads Mikkelsen’s Dr. Jürgen Voller atop a moving train. But while the technology that allowed Ford to play a younger Indiana Jones attracted the most attention, Mikkelsen’s appearance was also digitally altered to make him look younger.

In a new interview with Business Insider, Mikkelsen reflected on the process of being de-aged and recalled the moment when he agreed to use the technology.

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“They de-aged me as well, but with a different technique,” Mikkelsen said. “In the beginning, they thought it was enough just to dye my hair completely black. And then I told them, ‘You know what? My hair’s black, but I look like an old woman now. So let’s just do a little thing.’ I mean, we had to jump 25 years, right? They did something, but not the same technique.”

Mikkelsen went on to say that he’s not entirely against de-aging for specific artistic purposes, but he cautioned against relying on it to permanently mask the aging process.

“The idea of us having to be forever young, I’m not a fan of that. I don’t think anyone is a fan of that,” he said. “But once you can control it like that, jumping back and forth, I think it’s absolutely worth using. You have to be ethical about it.”

The de-aging effects that were used on Mikkelsen were much less significant than what Harrison Ford went through for the film’s flashback. But Ford had nothing but positive things to say about the AI technology that allowed him to perform one last classic Indiana Jones opening sequence.

“That is my actual face at that age,” Ford said in 2023. “They have this artificial intelligence program. It can go through every foot of film Lucasfilm owns. Because I did a bunch of movies for them, they have all this footage, including film that wasn’t printed. They could mine it from where the light is coming from, the expression. But that’s my actual face. I put little dots on my face and I say the words and they make it. It’s fantastic.”

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