Tom Hanks has discussed the possibility of his career continuing after he's dead, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI).
Hanks, famous for films from The Green Mile to Forrest Gump, told the Adam Buxton Podcast that there are already people across the industry discussing the legal ramifications of "my face and my voice and everybody else's being our intellectual property".
He told comedian Adam Buxton that the issue had been "lingering" ever since his image and data was captured for the film Polar Express.
"We saw this coming," Hanks told Buxton. "We saw that there was going to be this ability [...] to take zeros and ones inside a computer and turn it into a face and a character. Now, that has only grown a billion-fold since then and we see it everywhere."
"It is a bona fide possibility right now – if I wanted to – I could get together and pitch a series of seven movies that would star me in them in which I would be 32 years old from now until kingdom come."
Attempts have already been made to resurrect dead actors on the silver screen. In 2019, Magic City Films announced plans to create a Vietnam War-era drama starring the image of James Dean, who died in 1955, and received an online backlash.
“We feel very honored that his family supports us and will take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact,” producer Anton Ernst said in a statement seen by Variety at the time. “The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down.”
Tech for replicating actors as they looked in their youth has crept into mainstream films and television in recent years, including Harrison Ford in the upcoming Indiana Jones film, and Mark Hamill, whose image was placed on top of a virtually identical actor.
Hanks seems resigned to a future where anybody's image, including his own, may be used to make movies.
"Anybody can now recreate themselves at any age they are by way of AI or deepfake technology. Look, I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that's it, but my performances can go on and on and on and on," he said in the interview. "And outside of the understanding that it's been done with AI and deepfake, there'll be nothing to tell you that it's not me and me alone."