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The Worrying Technology That Made Tom Hanks Look Younger in ‘Here’

The Worrying Technology That Made Tom Hanks Look Younger in ‘Here’


In the new film starring veteran Tom Hanks, ‘Here,’ he and Robin Wright look like teenagers again. This is the latest use of technology with potentially damaging and far-reaching consequences.




In the new film starring veteran Tom Hanks, Herehe and Robin Wright look like teenagers again. This is the latest use of technology with potentially damaging and far-reaching consequences.

HereIt is set in the distant future, the distant past, and every time period in between.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis and adapted from Richard McGuire’s graphic novel of the same name, it traces the history of a piece of land, seen from a single point of view over the course of many thousands of years. Most of it, however, concerns the decades in which the area was part of the American home of a couple played by Hanks and Robin Wright.

For fans of Forrest Gump (1994), the most significant aspect of the trailer, which debuted last week, was the reunion of director Zemeckis with two of his stars.

But equally remarkable was the digital revamp that allowed Hanks and Wright to play the characters of their adolescence.

Hanks, now 67, appears slim and fresh-faced, with a thick mop of curly hair, just as he did in Put a mermaid in my life AND The Last Bachelor Party (1984), many years ago.

And if Zemeckis achieves this effect in Here, how long will it be before such rejuvenation becomes as common as the use of hair dye and makeup to shave a few years off an actor’s apparent age?

Zemeckis has always been fascinated by the way people and places change over the decades: just think of his Forrest Gump and in his trilogy Back to the Future.

He has also long been fascinated by digital innovation, which explains the creepy animated mannequins, created using live actors and motion capture technology, in The Polar Express (2004), The Legend of Beowulf (2007), Scrooge’s Ghosts (2009) and in the deeply strange Welcome to Marwen (2018).

As for Hanks, he seems comfortable playing young characters until his death – and maybe even beyond.

On Adam Buxton’s podcast last year, he said this when he did it The Polar Express with Zemeckis, they realized that there were no limits to what this computerized trick could do.

“Anyone can recreate themselves now, at any age, through AI or deep-fake technology. I could just get hit by a bus tomorrow, but the performances can continue indefinitely. Outside of the understanding of AI and deep-fake, there will be nothing that says it’s not me and only me.”

It’s disturbing to think that, in the long term, real superstars may be replaced by their AI doppelgangers, and that, in the short term, rejuvenation may allow veterans of Hanks’ generation to continue to play roles that should, by right, go to younger actors.

But this could easily have happened: in less than twenty years, rejuvenation has gone from a ridiculed novelty to a useful tool for film production.

In 2006, visual effects artists rejuvenated Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen pixel by pixel. X-Men: The Last Standand the most common reaction was a wry smile at how shiny and robotic they appeared.

The technology has been used sparingly for years in science fiction fantasies such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and Tron: Legacy (2010). Until 2019, it was a key component of several notable films.



In Here, rejuvenation technology is used to follow the lives of an American couple over the course of decades.

Mixed results

Samuel L Jackson has been rejuvenated Captain Marvel play 90’s Nick Fury; several actors have received the same treatment Avengers: Endgame; Will Smith played an assassin who fought his younger clone Gemini Man Project by Ang Lee; and, controversially, Martin Scorsese used what he called “juvenilization” on Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in The Irishman.

But the most famous example of rejuvenation so far has been Indiana Jones and the Relic of Destinylast year, directed by James Mangold, which had a long flashback to Indy fighting with the Nazis in 1944.

Some critics liked the high-tech reminder of how cool Ford was in the ’80s, but many others were skeptical. When you’re used to seeing a wrinkled, sagging face, it can be distracting to see a weird, cyberbotoxized version of yourself. In The Irishmanit was ridiculous to hear Pesci refer to the septuagenarian De Niro as “the boy.” And there was no doubt that, aside from the removal of wrinkles, he was larger, heavier, and slower than when he was made. Taxi driver.

Wouldn’t it have made more sense if Scorsese and Mangold had used conventional means to rejuvenate their heroes?

Seeing River Phoenix impersonate Ford when he played Indy at school age Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade It was much more impressive than seeing Ford himself transformed into a video game character.

And let’s not forget that De Niro played a younger incarnation of Marlon Brando’s Vita Corleone. The Godfather Part IIwhile Scott Tiler played a younger incarnation of De Niro’s Noodles Aaronson in Once upon a time in America – and both were successful.

Returning to Zemeckis, digital retouching is somehow more effective than the traditional methods that have aged and rejuvenated the McFly family. Back to the Future?



A de-aged Harrison Ford in the latest Indiana Jones film has sparked mixed reactions

Maybe not, but just as computer-generated sets and digitally enhanced stunts have become the norm, de-aged actors likely soon will too.

What is striking so far, however, is how limited the uses of the technology have been.

So far, the de-aging is more of a gimmick than a serious storytelling tool, and its primary purpose seems less to make the characters appear younger than to remind viewers of films they saw when they were younger.

The Emotional Impact of a Fake Young Hanks Here It’s in our memories of the real young Hanks when he was just starting out.

The rejuvenated Ford in the latest Indiana Jones film evokes the thrill of watching Indy’s classic adventures.

A rejuvenated Mark Hamill appears in the TV series The Mandalorian AND The Book of Boba Fett of franchising Star Wars to explore our love for the original big screen trilogy.

Meanwhile the show Abba JourneyPremiering in London in May 2022, it features virtual ‘abbatars’ that recall the four musicians as they were in 1979.

For the most part, then, de-aging hasn’t been used to prolong the careers of superstars or facilitate chronology-distorting narratives; it’s been used to spark nostalgia. Ironically, for a technology that seems so futuristic and revolutionary, it’s still stuck in the past.

Here will be released in U.S. theaters on November 15.

Source: Terra

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