Virtual Acting – How Hollywood Magicians Will Raise The Dead

The year is 2017, and the latest Indiana Jones film opens on 4,000 screens across the U.S. It stars Harrison Ford as Indy, of course. But in this installment a 35-year-old Ford returns, fighting evil treasure hunters in the deserts of Morocco. At his side? Humphrey Bogart, reprising his role as Rick fromCasablanca.

The technology to rewind the clock on movie stars' careers and bring long-dead actors back from the grave has been talked about for 20 years. But a slew of new films, including James Cameron's 3-D sci-fi opus, Avatar, have advanced digital filmmaking enough to supplant live action movies--and make a fortune in the process. Avatar has earned $2.4 billion at the worldwide box office for News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox since hitting screens in December.

The next phase of the revolution: virtual actors, with the potential to inflame the age-old battle between Hollywood talent and studios. At stake is everything from who owns the rights to a movie star's image to what it means to be an actor to the future of storytelling. "We've already been involved in things like that," says Steve Preeg of special effects house Digital Domain. "Why? I guess because someone thinks there's money in it."

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Actors, Digital Cinema, Film Business, Filmmaking, Hollywood


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