New AI-driven de-ageing tools to be used in Tom Hanks project

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Developing AI technology is set to take another step forward with the release of 2024’s Here, helmed by Robert Zemeckis. 

Digital de-ageing techniques in film are set to take a big leap forwards with the announcement that the upcoming Miramax movie, Here,will be using AI-based generative technology to de-age stars Tom Hanks and Robin Wright (reuniting following Forrest Gump), as well as a number of other cast members.

Whilst digital de-ageing has been around for a fair few years now, there’s historically been lots of VFX and compositing work used to complete the sequence, meaning of course that time and money become huge factors. Here, which is being directed by Robert Zemeckis, is using AI technology to achieve the same effect, meaning that the need for human input is vastly diminished.

The film is said to be a single location movie, meaning that the de-ageing is going to be up front and centre for much of the film. Zemeckis is no stranger to the employment of new technologies, having been among the first to pioneer the possibilities of motion capture in 2004’s The Polar Express. Now it seems that he is fully invested in this new technology, with the film set to release courtesy of Sony sometime in 2024.

Zemeckis had this to say about the technology: “I’ve always been attracted to technology that helps me to tell a story. With Here, the film simply wouldn’t work without our actors seamlessly transforming into younger versions of themselves. Metaphysic’s AI tools do exactly that, in ways that were previously impossible. Having tested every flavour of face replacement and de-aging technology available today, Metaphysic are clearly the global leaders in feature-quality AI content and the perfect choice for this incredibly challenging, emotional film.”

There are still plenty of ethical concerns about the use of digital de-ageing and digital sculpting, but Hollywood certainly seems enamoured with the lower costs presented by embracing AI-driven versions of the new technology. Concerns about the quality of such tech have also been floated in the past, following maligned examples in films like 2010’s TRON: Legacy and to some degree, 2019’s The Irishman. Whether the addition of AI can fully conquer that ‘uncanny valley’ remains to be seen, but it looks like 2024’s Here is going to provide a clear litmus for the developing tech.

The Hollywood Reporter

Image: BigStock

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