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The de-aged actor in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was "90% makeup" not CGI – here's how they did it

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 already had one young version of an icon, we’re looking at you Baby Groot, but the opening moments of the movie showcased a younger character complete with flowing black locks. It might surprise you, though, that they didn’t go the CGI route a la Star Wars: Rogue One but instead took to good old fashioned makeup to turn back the clock. Minor spoilers for Guardians 2 follow.

Adam Kruger of Anchor.fm revealed that the scene involving a ‘young’ Ego (played by Kurt Russell) from 1980 was only “10% CGI”. So how did they pull of the de-ageing? It all comes down to the skilled hand of a makeup artist who has worked with Russell since 1989’s Tango and Cash.

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Dennis Ledger has worked with Kurt Russell on twenty-eight movies before being brought in to Guardians 2 to bring back the eighties to Russell’s face. Could he get work elsewhere, or was putting ‘An intimate knowledge of Kurt Russell’s face’ on his resume enough to put off potential employers for life?

Anyhoo, Ledger applied the movie makeup magic, before CGI was brought in to add the finishing touches. All in all, pretty darn impressive.

Hey, if all you need to keep yourself from getting old is a makeup artist following you around for the better part of two decades then sign me up.

Image: Marvel

Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.