Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren sit at a table in a restaurant, talking intently

The Good Liar

Feature film The Good Liar excitingly pairs heavyweight actors Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen on the big screen for the first time. McKellen delights as career con-artist Roy who can’t believe his luck when he meets rich widow Betty McLeish (Mirren); although what should be a simple cut-and-dry swindle turns into the most treacherous tightrope walk of his life. Framestore was delighted to reunite with Director Bill Condon, following a collaboration on Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, with VFX Supervisor Glen Pratt returning to the helm. The Good Liar, based on the widely acclaimed novel by Nicholas Searle, called for seamless, ‘invisible’ VFX work across a total of 225 shots.

Concept Design
Visual Effects Supervisor
side view of betty mcleish and roy courtnay looking at each other while sitting at a dinner table in a dimly lit restaurant

Reuniting with Bill Condon on The Good Liar proved an exciting challenge; helping to visualise a post WWII Berlin and working closely with the filmmakers to design shots throughout the process.
Glen Pratt
VFX Supervisor
actor ian mckellen wearing a black jacket and a fedora pointing to the right

Outrageous and irresistible
The Guardian

As the film is set ten years ago, it called for some interesting ‘period’ work. Digital keypads are used throughout the film to show money transacted at different points of the story, although they were shot with green screen inserts on set. The team developed a number of designs for the screens, striking a balance between looking like the technology we considered ‘cutting edge’ a decade ago, without it looking too advanced. Says Chris Zeh, Compositing Supervisor, “the fun challenge with the design is that it couldn’t even look as slick as an Iphone app looks these days - it’s supposed to be a bit clunky and ‘yesteryear.’”

In the same vein, the London skyline was also carefully modified to reflect London at this time, an interesting task as the city's iconic skyline has changed dramatically over the years as new skyscrapers, including the Shard, have emerged.

Delectably clever

A flashback sequence to post-war Berlin saw the team take on the large establishing environment; aging buildings, replacing modern elements and in one case, restoring a house to its former glory. Having turned back time for films including Darkest Hour and Downton Abbey, artists got to work using reference material to ensure historical accuracy throughout. Framestore’s in-house art department also jumped on board to help visualise the look of the sequence and develop storyboards for the narrative.

actress helen mirren wearing white pyjamas looking to her right with a shocked expression on her face

Entertaining grown-up popcorn fare
Den of Geek

Framestore collaborated closely with Condon on an array of VFX and animation work for the film, including key dramatic moments. The team relished the challenge of supporting the story and helping to build a believable world on screen. “Ideally if no one notices that we’ve done any work on it, then we have done our job very well,” adds Zeh. “We enjoy the invisible work, because it’s where you can really show that you understand the picture, how it works and what we want the audience to see and why.”


VFX Supervisor
CG Supervisor
Maxx Leong
VFX Producer
Jan Meade
Compositing Supervisor
Chris Zeh