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Flemish deepfake tech to bring a 'Tom Hanks of all ages' to life

Metaphysic, Chris Umé’s tech company, has launched a project involving several “Forrest Gump” actors.  Belgian entrepreneur Umé intends to make Tom Hanks and Robin Wright fifty years younger in new production “Here”.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) and exceptionally realistic deepfake technology Umé’s team intend to portray the two-times Oscar winner in every phase of his life.

At the request of Sony Pictures Umé’s company is bringing several actors that starred in the 1994 film back together again.  The idea isn’t to make a sequel or a modern version of the box office hit but to show a scene in the same room through the decades.

The deepfake technique uses existing images that are processed or manipulated by AI to achieve its result.  Deep learning software is employed.  A computer programme examines thousands of existing video images and tries to learn the gestures and facial expressions of a specific person.  The software can then be used to make a new recording showing the person saying or doing whatever you want.

“Here” will feature a 16-year-old Tom Hanks, but also a 60-year-old one.  Actress Robin Wright, who played Jenny in “Forrest Gump”, too will undergo several age changes. Robert Zemeckis, who directed the original 29 years ago, will direct. The film should be released this fall.

Till now filmmakers have often needed to look for actors of different ages who resemble each other to play figures at different ages.  With deepfake technology this need disappears and the same actor can play all roles. Old youth photos and video material can be used.  An actor still has to play the part but in post-production he or she is replaced by the deepfake model produced using computer software that imagines gestures and facial expressions of a younger or older person.

Chris Umé is the guy who surprised the America’s Got Talent jury by using deepfake technology to bring Elvis back to life. Umé’s Elvis got through to the final where he finished fourth.

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