You may remember earlier in October Mike wrote a piece about that time somebody used deepfake tech to replace Alden Ehrenheich’s Han Solo face in Solo with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo face. It was disturbing. And thrilling—in a way? But mostly creepy. Because quite aside from the real world implications this tech is going to have on the future of media and the public’s relationship with the truth, seeing deepfake in action is also just really goddamn weird, man. Like, I was emphatically not a fan of Solo. Poor writing and pacing aside I just could not let go of the fact that someone else could play Han Solo. That sounds petty and fanboy-ish, but I’m far from a fanboy, and I don’t think I’m invested enough in any fictional property that a prequel casting could sour me on an entire project. Except in Solo. It’s Han Solo, for god’s sake! It’s Harrison Ford. A combination of ‘incredibly iconic character’ and ‘quite possibly the most charismatic Hollywood star of all time’. It was never going to work. So to glimpse the edges of a reality in which Ford himself is somehow playing a younger version of himself? It was weird. Uncanny. And probably an indication of the way Hollywood is heading, what with dead movie stars’ likenesses already being used and people like Jet Li explaining why he refused to take part in the Matrix trilogy:
It was a commercial struggle for me. I realized the Americans wanted me to film for three months but be with the crew for nine. And for six months, they wanted to record and copy all my moves into a digital library. By the end of the recording, the right to these moves would go to them.
Hollywood! An exploitative capitalist paradise!
Deepfakes! A terrifying glimpse of a future where the already weakening barrier between fact and fiction threatens to be dissolved completely!
Still and all, Donald Trump as Winnifred in Hocus Pocus is a hell of a trip, huh?:
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