Tom Hanks is game for the rise of AI and deepfakes, but he’s still trying to protect his true identity as technology — and a money-hungry industry — gets smarter. The star discusses the state of synthetic media as a guest on The Adam Buxton Podcastwhere he revealed that there are “discussions going on with all the guilds, with all the agencies, and with all the legal firms, to create legal consequences in my face and in my voice – and in everything else – our intellectual property.”
In January, news broke that Hanks and Robin Wright would be de-aged in Robert Zemckis’ film adaptation of HERE, a novel that follows the inhabitants of a room over several years. Zemeckis’ interest in AI is not surprising, as the visual innovator famously pioneered motion capture in 2004. The Polar Express — which Hanks pointed out.
“It always took a long time. The first time we made a movie with a large amount of our own data locked in a computer – literally what we looked like – was a movie called. The Polar Express,” he said. “We saw that there was this ability, to take the zeros and ones inside a computer and turn it into a face and a character.”
Of course, a lot has changed in the last two decades, and today’s technology does not only offer innovations in animation — it allows us to change the appearance of real people, if not copy and paste a dead person person in a new movie. According to Hanks, “I could get together and do a series of seven movies starring me where I’ll be 32 years old. From now until the kingdom comes. Anyone now can change the themselves at whatever age they are through AI or deep technology.
“I can get hit by a bus tomorrow and that’s it, but my shows can go on and on, and, outside of understanding that it’s been done by AI or deepfake, there’s nothing to say. you that it’s not me and me alone,” the actor continued. “And it has a level of life-like quality. And that’s an artistic challenge, but it’s also a legal one.
The appearance of later actors in new projects is technically possible; after Bruce Willis had to will retire from acting last year due to his aphasia diagnosis, an AI company made a replica of him to be used in a commercial. But as Buxton points out, synthetic media can no longer reproduce the human nature of a professional, live actor. “Obviously, people can tell,” Hanks agreed. “But the question is, will they care?” Listen to the full interview with Hanks HERE.
A de-aged Hanks is set to be cast HERE in 2024. Before that, the 66-year-old Hanks will be seen in Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, from June 16.