Sorry to say but it’s devastatingly true. A lot of us have wondered if CGI actors well ever seriously replace human ones. Well the tech is beyond this point now and you won’t believe what it can do.
According to leading digital effects expert Darren Hendler, some actors are already embracing these technologies. Through a scanning process, they can essentially have a digital version of themselves stored. It means they can appear younger in films, and even feature in them without actually being present.
It seems even Tom Cruise is going along with it, but of course only in true Tom-doing-weird-and-whacky-things form. Scanned copies of himself were used for his role in Oblivion. But Tom asked that a set of the copies be hand delivered to his house – and the rest destroyed thereafter.
Another example is the latest instalment from the Fast & Furious film franchise, Furious 7. And it’s somewhat of a wake-up call. The film was part way through production when one of its lead actors, Paul Walker, sadly perished in a fatal car accident. Shooting was stalled for eight months as the filmmakers deliberated how they would finish it. Ultimately, the film was completed using Walker’s brothers Cody and Caleb as stunt doubles, digitally inserting Paul’s face using pre-recorded footage.
Similarly, in the 2010 film The Social Network, the Winklevoss actor twins weren’t actually the Winklevoss actor twins. They were, in fact, played by two completely separate actors, Armie Hammer and Josh Pence. Hammer’s face was digitally graphed onto Pence’s shoulders for the whole film. Tough luck on that one Josh.
So, how will technical innovations, such as these, impact the future for artists? Will digitally scanned actors be able to deliver the same emotive, human performances as their fleshy counterparts? Does this mean the end for actors as we know it? Or does it mean we’ll be seeing Tom and Keanu on our screens for many more decades to come?