Tom Hanks and Robin Wright may look a little younger in the upcoming movie “Here” from director Robert Zemeckis.
The film, which reunites the “Forrest Gump” co-stars after nearly 30 years, will use new hyperrealistic technology, including AI-generated face replacements and de-aging, to allow its stars to tell a story that spans generations. Based on Richard McGuire’s graphic novel, “Here” takes place in New England — starting as wilderness and later becoming the site of a home — against a tale of love, loss, hope, struggle and legacy.
Miramax is producing the film, which co-stars Paul Bettany and Kelly Reilly and will be distributed by Sony Pictures. The upcoming technological advancements stem from a partnership between AI technology firm Metaphysic and Hollywood agency CAA. The pact, which was announced on Tuesday and kicks off with the production of “Here,” was formed to develop new generative AI tools and services for film, television and other areas of entertainment.
“I’ve always been attracted to technology that helps me to tell a story,” Zemeckis said in a statement. “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 flavor 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.”
Metaphysic was first introduced to audiences in 2022 during an episode of “America’s Got Talent” in which a photorealistic avatar of Elvis sang on stage. The performance caught the attention of creatives at CAA and Miramax, who felt the technology could unlock new opportunities in Hollywood.
“Metaphysic are industry leaders in using generative AI and machine learning to create photorealistic Hollywood-quality content, combined with their ethics-first approach and thought leadership they unlock an incredible opportunity for the entertainment industry and beyond,” said Joanna Popper, chief Metaverse officer at CAA. “Artificial intelligence will have a transformative impact on content creation and intellectual property. CAA has always been at the forefront of new technological frontiers and we are excited to work with Metaphysic in bringing the most exciting opportunities to our clients and the industry.”
The new technology that’s being deployed on “Here” is called Metaphysics Live. The tool creates high-resolution photorealistic face-swaps and de-aging effects on top of actors’ performances live and in real-time without the need for further compositing or VFX work. According to a press release, “streaming AI-generated photorealistic content that maps onto real-world scenes at up to 30 frames per second is a dramatic advance in the technology that will be essential to creating immersive AR/VR, gaming and entertainment experiences.”
Kevin Baillie, the production visual effects supervisor on “Here” says, “The actors can even use the technology as a ‘youth mirror’ – testing out acting choices for their younger selves in real-time. That feedback loop and youthful performance is absolutely essential in achieving an authentic, delightful result.”
For Metaphysic, the hope is to continue to expanding the realm of what’s possible on screen.
“Our tools are cost-effective, movie-quality and scalable — we are being forced to reimagine how visual media is produced,” said Thomas Graham, CEO and co-founder of Metaphysic. “With the support of CAA and by working on projects like ‘Here,’ Metaphysic is demonstrating the transformative power of hyperreal AI to shape the future of entertainment and to eventually help people create AI-generated, photorealistic immersive content while they own and control their data.”