Future movie stars may perform after their death.
Technology threatens many jobs – travel agencies, truck drivers, factory workers. But here’s one you might not expect: an actor.
Technology in the entertainment business is creating digital actors competing with the scene.
Acadamy’s award-winning Blade Runner 2049 gives us a glimpse into the future. One scene in science fiction is the miracle of modern technology. Harrison ford plays a character called deckard, who, like the actor, has aged well since 1982, when the original blade runner was first runner-up.
Deckard was reunited with a character named Rachel. In the early films, she was played by Sean Young, 58. But with the help of special effects she is not old enough.
Technicians scan Yang’s head and skull. Then they used an actress from an old film to create a young face around her scanned skull. They rearranged the audio of her old show – Rachel looks 35 years younger than she is.
Michael fink, a professor of film and art at the university of southern California, said he was disappointed by the change.
Mr. Fink, who has long been involved in special effects, said the film was part of a decades-old effort to replace reality actors with digital films. ‘it really starts with an extra,’ he says. He photographed many people, such as one from the 1996 film “the Mars attack”. When the martians landed, there was a scene in the desert.
“We’re out in the Arizona desert,” said fink. “We have 700 people there and we have to put them and feed them.”
Fast forward 10 years superman returns and another crowd scene. Superman had to play a plane on a baseball field.
“We have 200 extra, which is what we need,” Fink said. “But there are 50,000 people in the ballpark – everyone else is digital.”
“The extra work is being lost,” said fink. Technology is advancing. Filmmakers are getting closer and closer to creating the full performance of actors who are no longer alive.
Peter Cushing’s digital image is used to recreate his role as grand muff tkin in the 2016 movie “rogue one: Star Wars story”. Cushing died in 1994.
In 2016, Peter Cushing returns as the Grand Moff Tarkin in A Star Wars Story. He’s been dead for 20 years. Before the technology, a young actor might have played the role.
This is not just a movie. In 2012, when Tupac Shakur’s hologram was performed at Coachella, the music industry was shocked.
Digital Domain, the company that created the hologram, is also responsible for the special effects behind the film, including beauty and the beast, x-men and male killers.
The company’s digital effects supervisor, Darren Hendler, says some big-name actors are preparing for a day when their acting careers will continue after they die. Some performers, Hendler said, have spent millions of dollars digitising the company’s archives.
“We have a digital archive menu,” he said. “You can file your facial expressions as well as you make every expression, whole body scan, you can file your voice and your voice, you can archive different wardrobe and scan you may wear a wardrobe.
Henderle won’t say which actors have done it. But imagining the future, young actresses must compete with the digital meryl streep. Or the late James gandolfini can always play Tony soprano.
Hendler and other experts say we have a long way to go to get a great performance from a dead actor. But the trajectory of the technology is clear, says university of southern California’s fink. But do audiences really want to see dead actors?
“In the end, all of us are under six feet, and that’s fine,” fink said. “Let the new actors see, don’t hang on to things that will never really be the people we love.”
But Hollywood is the land of fantasy. Actors have been trying to look younger, so why not take it to the next level – eternal youth?