Computer generated imagery (CGI) has advanced to the point that anything can be created virtually. Dinosaurs can be revived from extinction, wormholes can be opened to another dimension, killer robots from the future can morph into anyone and young wizards can conjure anything with magic. But will such a wonderful piece of technology make an actor dispensable? Actor Dominic Cooper is worried it may happen.
BBC Newsbeat reports, “Warcraft” actor Dominic Cooper knows about actors who are getting their likeness scanned into a virtual clone, so that they are able to play younger versions of themselves in the future. It can be assumed that in less than a decade, the average viewer won’t be able to tell the difference between a real human and a CGI one. Which is a cause for serious concern. “It is going to happen. I think it is more terrifying than it is exciting though,” Cooper told Newsbeat.
Dominic Cooper is right. Motion capture or performance capture is being heavily used in Hollywood movies nowadays. Gollum in “The lord of the Rings,” series, “King Kong,” (2005), Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” movies, Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” and Smaug, the dragon in “The Hobbit” movies are some of the more prominent examples. But it still requires actors. However, there are movies where an actor’s digital likeness is being used as a replacement. This has happened in “Superman Returns,” and recently in “Terminator Genisys.”
In fact, director Ari Folman made a whole film on this issue, called “The Congress.” The film told the tale of an ageing actress, played by Robin Wright (“House of Cards”), whose last acting job is getting her likeness scanned to a CGI model of hers, which will replace her in all future films, reported The Telegraph. “Robin Wright is standing in the middle of a huge geodesic dome of LEDs and cameras, giving her very last performance. As she sobs bitterly, her every move and micro-expression is scanned,” the article read.
The CGI creatures and Orcs of director Duncan Jones’s “Warcraft: The Beginning” are stunningly detailed and life-like. But they are fantastical creations. What about an actual CGI human? Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), the pioneer VFX company behind “Terminator 2” and “Jurassic Park,” is also responsible for the visual effects of “Warcraft.” ILM’s digital supervisor Nigel Sumner told Newsbeat, “I believe we’re on the cusp of seeing fully digital characters that you wouldn’t know are digital on the big screen.” This is both an exciting and a scary prospect for Dominic Cooper and cinema as a whole.
“Warcraft: The Beginning” releases on June 10.