Arnold Schwarzenegger sends a terrorist on a missile-propelled flight through a battered high-rise in True Lies. Jim Carrey"s eyeballs leap out of their sockets through cartoonish elasticity in The Mask. Gary Sinise loser his legs from the knees down in Forrest Gump.

You are watching: How did they make lieutenant dan legless

Sitting in the theatre watching every this, you could be wondering, exactly how did they perform that?!

Easy. They didn"t. Each of this illusions was created with computer-generated imagery. The difference is the True Lies and The Mask offered special impacts for dazzling, larger-than-life sequences, when Forrest Gump provided its visual tricks much more subtly, to improve the story line.

"What Gump did is to heighten emotion using special effects," states co-producer Steve Starkey.

Scenes in i beg your pardon Tom Hanks mingles with presidents, such together Richard Nixon, are obviously faked, through filming Hanks" image versus a blue screen and also then superimposing that onto archival footage. However elsewhere in Forrest Gump, viewers might not realize they"re gift hoodwinked.

Take the movie"s opened two-minute sequence, in i m sorry the camera follows a feather together it leisurely wafts amongst treetops and also through city web traffic to lastly land at Tom Hanks" feet. Or Hanks playing a top-level Ping-Pong match without lacking a stroke. Or the crowd at one anti-war rally held by an Abbie Hoffman look-alike, in i beg your pardon the mirroring Pool in the Washington Mall appears to be surrounded by thousands of thousands of protesters.

Most of the people, the feather and also the Ping-Pong ball space computer-generated phantoms. Because that the rally, technicians filmed a team of 1,500 extras in various locations roughly the reflecting Pool and also then mixed the images in a computer, creating the illusion the many more people. To re-create a feather"s flight, they hosted a dangling turkey feather in front of a blue screen, fed the photos into a computer and also then included them to movie of see in Savannah, Ga.

Probably the many impressive effect in Forrest Gump involves Sinise as army Lt. Dan Taylor, who legs space amputated ~ he"s injured in Vietnam. The very first time audiences watch the brand-new Sinise, he is being hoisted the end of a hospital bed. A curtain pulls back to disclose his legs, which abruptly finish in raw stumps. They"re not concealed in bed sheets or tucked increase behind him. They"ve vanished.

This now-you-see-them-now-you-don"t trick was accomplished by technicians in ~ George Lucas" industrial Light and also Magic, who additionally worked ~ above The Mask.

For the hospital scene and also others in i m sorry Sinise"s legs are missing, he wore special blue stockings. Through the help of computers, professionals later erased every little thing in that shade of blue indigenous the pictures, leaving a feet in the frame. Then they went ago and to fill in the hole with photos they had replicated from the background, in a painstaking process called digital imaging.

Because digital imaging is therefore time-consuming and expensive, the filmmakers often turned to a one-of-a-kind wheelchair to film scenes whereby Sinise was in motion.

See more: Why Do Frogs Have Webbed Feet, Put Your Hands Up And Best Foot Forward

"There"s a false bottom come the chair," Starkey explains. "Where friend think the chair is, there"s yes, really a pocket, and also his legs room bent underneath there."

But the collapsible wheelchair was not a foolproof solution. It was cumbersome for filming and also often uncomfortable for Sinise. By using digital manipulation and the cheat wheelchair, the filmmakers completed a convincing effect.

"What us tried to execute is choreograph scene in together a means that it would appear that someone who had actually legs couldn"t possibly execute what he was doing," Starkey says. "We"re developing a new art form."