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Tom Hanks says he may appear in movies after death with the help of AI, sparking debate

Hanks said the 'bona fide possibility' is to pitch a series of seven movies that would star him where he would be 32 years old from 'now until kingdom come.'

Tom Hanks says he may appear in movies after death with the help of AI, sparking debate
Cover Image Source: Tom Hanks attends the "A Man Called Otto" New York Screening on January 09, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Tom Hanks sparked a discussion over artificial intelligence (AI) through the prospect of re-creating his face in motion pictures after his death. In the latest episode of The Adam Buxton podcast, the "Forrest Gump" actor was asked about the legalities of AI and how it could eventually pose artistic challenges in the industry. "This has always been lingering," he said. "The first time we did a movie that had a huge amount of our data locked in a computer—literally what we looked like—was "The Polar Express." According to the BBC, "The Polar Express, released in 2004, was the first film entirely animated using digital motion-capture technology."

Image Source: Tom Hanks visits the SiriusXM Studios on January 10, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Image Source: Tom Hanks visits SiriusXM Studios on January 10, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)


"We saw this coming and 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," Hanks said. "That has only grown a billion-fold since then, and we see it everywhere." The 66-year-old Hollywood icon revealed there are talks about how to protect actors from the effects of AI technology in the film industry. "I can tell you that discussions are going on in all of the guilds, all of the agencies, and all of the legal firms to come up with the legal ramifications of my face and my voice and everybody else's being our intellectual property," Hanks added.



The star from "A Man Called Otto" shared the bona fide possibility is to "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." He noted, "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. Outside the understanding of AI and deep fake, there'll be nothing to tell you that it's not me and me alone." He mentioned these AI-generated movies would have a "degree of lifelike quality" to them. "That's certainly an artistic challenge, but it's also a legal one."



Hanks continues by giving examples of how artificial intelligence is used in movies, such as in the most recent "Indiana Jones," when Harrison Ford, 80, is "de-aged" for the opening scene. The filmmakers matched the archival Ford with the new footage to create an illusion of "Indiana Jones" in 1944. Hanks believes that technological domination in the industry could lead to an AI-generated version of himself in films he may not normally do. "Without a doubt, people will be able to tell it's AI, but the question is will they care? Some people won't care, that won't make that delineation."



According to CNN, Hanks is currently busy promoting his debut novel, "The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece." The synopsis reported that the book is based on "a wildly ambitious story of the making of a colossal, star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film, and the humble comic book that inspired it all." 

He explained to the BBC why he took on the project. “Sometimes you just have to have some other reason to spark your imagination,” he said, adding that his novel will “live and die based on its ability to entertain and enlighten an audience." Hanks said that he began writing the book in 2018 after his book "Uncommon Type" was published in 2017. "I wrote in between films, I wrote wherever I was, I wrote on planes, I wrote at home, I wrote on vacation, I wrote in hotel rooms, I wrote on long weekends when I wasn't working," he said.

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