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Tom Hanks is getting de-aged with deepfake AI for new movie

The upcoming Robert Zemeckis movie will be using the technology behind the viral deepfake Tom Cruise

Tom Hanks with a sharp beard, gold necklace, earings, and a red blazer stands in front of a crowd who all seem intimidated by him in Cloud Atlas
Tom Hanks in Cloud Atlas
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Pete Volk (he/they) is Polygon’s Senior Curation Editor, with a particular love for action and martial arts movies.

Conversations about AI art are everywhere you look these days. People on social media are using it to “recreate” the aesthetics of filmmakers like Wes Anderson, artists are suing AI art generators over copyright infringement, AI-powered apps are hypersexualzing users, streamers are using AI to maintain eerie eye contact with their viewers, and filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro are calling AI art “an insult to life itself.”

The upcoming movie Here, from Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks and Robin Wright, will probably increase that discourse tenfold. The movie will be using the AI-driven tool Metaphysic Live, best known for its deep fakes of Tom Cruise (and also featured on America’s Got Talent).

Here, adapted from Richard McGuire’s graphic novel, follows the two protagonists over a long period of time and is set in a single location. Both Hanks and Wright will be de-aged in the movie, playing the younger versions of their characters.

Zemeckis said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter the technology will allow Here to do things that were “previously impossible,” by having Hanks and Wright play their characters throughout the film’s time periods.

Of course, while what Zemeckis says is technically true by one definition, many, many movies have managed to portray characters across multiple time periods before Here. Makeup and costuming, or casting different actors to play younger (or older) versions of the characters, are old methods that have worked time and time again. We’ll just have to wait and see how Here compares (and also how it compares to other, more recent de-aging tech, like that seen in The Irishman and the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny).

Wright was previously in the excellent (and underseen) 2013 movie The Congress, about an actor who gives her digital likeness to a movie studio for them to use in perpetuity. A challenging work that anticipates many of our current conversations around AI (and a movie that also looks great), The Congress has never been more relevant (and you can watch it on Hulu, Peacock, or for free with ads on Tubi).

Here, which co-stars Paul Bettany and Kelly Reilly along with Hanks and Wright, is expected for release in 2024.

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