Tom Hanks is considering the possibility that he could keep acting even after he’s died thanks to artificial intelligence.
“Anybody can now recreate themselves at any age they are by way of AI or deep fake technology. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that’s it, but performances can go on and on and on and on,” Hanks said on the Adam Buxton podcast (via BBC).
“Outside the understanding of AI and deep fake, there’ll be nothing to tell you that it’s not me and me alone. And it’s going to have some degree of lifelike quality. That’s certainly an artistic challenge but it’s also a legal one.”
The Castaway and Forest Gump star says that the entertainment industry is not only buzzing with the possibilities but also the precarious legality of using someone’s image artificially.
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Tom Hanks on How AI Is Changing Hollywood
“I can tell you that there is discussions going on in all of the guilds, all of the agencies, and all of the legal firms in order to come up with the legal ramifications of my face and my voice and everybody else’s being our intellectual property,” Hanks said.
“What is a bona fide possibility right now is, if I wanted to, I could get together and pitch a series of seven movies that would star me in them in which I would be 32 years old from now until kingdom come.”
Remember The Polar Express?
Hanks says he saw this all coming almost 20 years ago when he and Robert Zemeckis made 2004’s The Polar Express, which won a Guinness World Record that year for longest performance capture film. It was the first film to be made entirely through digital motion-capture technology, where the actors’ movements are tracked and then translated into computer animation.
“This has always been lingering,” Hanks said. “The first time we did a movie that had a huge amount of our own data locked in a computer – literally what we looked like – was a movie called The Polar Express.”
“We saw this coming, we saw that there was going to be this ability to take zeros and ones from inside a computer and turn it into a face and a character. That has only grown a billion-fold since then and we see it everywhere,” he added.
There’s More AI Where That Came From
Speaking of Hanks and Zemeckis, the pair have another movie slated for 2024 that will use AI technology to de-age Hanks and his Forest Gump co-star Robin Wright. It’s called Here, and it will follow Hanks and Wright across generations.
According to Variety, the AI technology will make them look like their younger selves and use a terrifying concept called AI-generated face replacement. The story takes place in New England, starting in the wilderness and moving through time as a house is built there, telling a story of “love, loss, hope, struggle and legacy.”
AI De-Aging Was Used on Harrison Ford in The New Indiana Jones Movie
80-year-old Harrison Ford was de-aged to look like his much younger self in the opening sequence of the fifth and final Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
And Hanks knows that AI may eventually be used without his permission, causing him to appear in movies that he might not necessarily have wanted to be in.
“Without a doubt, people will be able to tell [that it’s AI], but the question is, will they care?” Hanks asked. “There are some people that won’t care, that won’t make that delineation.”
Main Image: Tom Hanks’ character in The Polar Express. Photo Credit: Warner Bros