2

Lance Reddick has died, but they plan to make a TV show about The Continental. Is it possible to "revive" dead actors through some digital technology? Is this primarily a legal question - who gets the money from the acting - the family of Lance?

9
  • 5
    Doing it via CGI? Yes. Legal? ... (ask a lawyer?) I think that it's not really something we can tell you (as for the second part).
    – OldPadawan
    Mar 23, 2023 at 13:21
  • They're not gonna do that, it will be way too costly.
    – BCdotWEB
    Mar 23, 2023 at 14:24
  • 5
    They have made CGI appearances of many actors/actresses who left us but they were mostly been short appearances as cost do matters.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Mar 23, 2023 at 14:51
  • 2
    On a level of ironic/coincidental sadness, I'm right in the middle of re-watching the Wire, top to bottom, first time in maybe 15 years. It's odd to know some are no longer with us, & balance that against who was in it that I'd never even heard of at the time, now familiar faces. I really never knew Littlefinger was in it until now. Driss & Dominic West I did figure out years ago, but not the first time.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 24, 2023 at 10:07
  • 1
    Continental is gonna be a prequel with a new cast, in particular Ayomide Adegun as Charon. So... while perhaps they could "bring him back", they won't.
    – Mithoron
    Mar 24, 2023 at 23:55

2 Answers 2

14

Can it be done?
Yes.
It would be much easier if he had recently posed for a photogrammetry, 3D scanning session…
This takes under 30 seconds to do, with >200 individual stills cameras, but idk how long to them map to a useable form. I've been in these booths myself, many times, but I've never seen the process to completion, after this part.

enter image description here

…but it has been done just from existing footage of an actor in a previous movie & a plaster head cast made some years earlier, for another movie - viz Peter Cushing in Star Wars.

enter image description here

Will they do it? Your guess is as good as anyone else's.
It's expensive. It requires a mo-cap actor to convincingly portray him. It then has to have the 3D model mapped onto that.
It then needs a voice actor who can sound convincingly like him.
More background to this on Star Wars Fandom

As to the rest - there's the moral issue, for which his estate would have to make the decision. Recompense would presumably go to his estate, but all that would be guided by a room-full of lawyers.

5
  • 2
    One could argue that the voice impersonation alone is infeasible— Reddick had a very distinctive voice and I’m not sure if it could be imitated convincingly, even with an AI assist
    – Kevin Troy
    Mar 23, 2023 at 21:26
  • 5
    There is enough of a push, and a desire, in this area for it to not be infeasible for much longer. Mar 23, 2023 at 22:41
  • 3
    I recall that the plaster cast of Cushing's face was not made for Star Wars, but for the 1984 spy spoof Top Secret!, and solely for a gag where he's first seen looking at something through a magnifying glass, and then moves the lens away and his eye is actually shaped like that. Mar 24, 2023 at 16:16
  • 3
    @KevinTroy have you listened to any recent ElevenLabs generated voices? They are quite quickly getting scarily good, especially in non-realtime cases where you can generate many "takes" and pick the best ones. They also require very little training data
    – llama
    Mar 24, 2023 at 20:52
  • 1
    @blobbymcblobby at least, finally they can stop wasting all their money on talented actors and give it to the CEO and shareholders where it truly belongs
    – user253751
    Mar 25, 2023 at 10:30
6

Just adding a cent to what Tetsujin has said:

And, largely what he has described is traditionally done in post production.

But what if all of that was done before, prepped, and then applied to a body/head double, that then proceeded to act on set as if they were them, all the time the projected face is already mapped on to them and seen by the camera recording? No need for lengthy and costly post production.

Feasible? Yes.

With the scanning he has mentioned, I too have done it, I have also been on the other side ..

With enough of the correct information they can do it in real time.

I have been on sets where they did this in real time, and even the stand-ins were projected with the talents features and all you needed was the voice (which can also be done). At the very least, you could shoot it as normal, without requiring post production.

But would they?

Legal/Estate/etc issues aside, the technology required for this in real time filming requires a few extra bits of equipment and brain cells, and throws in a few extra requirements, so it is not 'easy', but it is do-able.

That said, its a lot easier to film scenes without that extra baggage, and it is not insignificant, so for my money, they would probably recast and get on with it.

Particularly as legal/estate/etc issues are avoided by recasting.

I was having a chat this very recently about some such, including adding the voice to the face, and Val Kilmer's AI'd voice in Top Gun2 came up as an example. That was post-produced for that project, but real time is here already.

7
  • 1
    Yeah, I've seen tech demos of this live compositing right 'in camera' - it didn't occur to me to include it. Thanks for adding.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 24, 2023 at 8:39
  • @Tetsujin It was pretty cool to be part of it! I was at the Cinematographers Convention recently and I don't think they even had it there (but everything else was). But, Oh boy, did I feel old. Totally surrounded by what looked like teens discussing where they are in their shoot schedule... :/ Mar 24, 2023 at 9:46
  • Ah, also reminds me of that social media app where the makeup is applied in real time, on any face and is quite convincing (as social media levels of quality goes). Mar 24, 2023 at 9:48
  • mhm, we've already got 'social media' levels of functional already - Zoom-type apps with 'face of a dog/monkey/boy/girl'. I suppose you could do it if the actor was wearing a 'face cam' of some sort - but the breakthrough will be when they can pick them out of a crowd, live. I suppose the 'face-full of dots' might help for that, like they do for doubles. There was a funny moment in the last Bond, Daniel Craig next to two identical 80s Astons, chatting with both his doubles, same suit, same hair, two with faces full of dots. Great 'wtf' moment on a sunny day out in the middle of London.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 24, 2023 at 9:57
  • 1
    You've not seen anything until you've seen Dumbo's double. I kid you not. Short gymnast, dressed in green lycra of course, extended grey front legs, grey head & trunk with camera in it. He was brilliant, really got the characterisation, but it was hilarious to watch the setups.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 24, 2023 at 10:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .