8:15 AM PDT 06/24/2020
Funded by sponsors of ‘To the Bone’ and ‘Loving Vincent’, the feature is said to be the first to trust an artificially intelligent actor.
As the industry grapples with how to safely reopen for production, a movie progresses with a lead actress who is immune to COVID-19, because she’s a robot named Erica.
Bondit Capital Media, which financed titles like To the bone and the Oscar nominee Loving vincent, Belgium-based Happy Moon Productions and Ten Ten Global Media from New York have pledged to endorse yes, a $ 70 million science fiction film that producers say will be the first to trust an artificially intelligent actor.
Based on a story by visual effects supervisor Eric Pham, Tarek Zohdy, and Sam Khoze, who also produces through Life Entertainment, yes Follow a scientist who discovers the dangers associated with a program he created to refine human DNA and helps the artificially intelligent woman he designed (Erica) escape.
Japanese scientists Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawa, who created Erica in real life as part of their robotics study, also taught her to act, applying the principles of the acting method to artificial intelligence, according to Khoze.
“In other acting methods, actors engage their own life experiences on paper,” says Khoze. “But Erica has no life experiences. It was created from scratch to play the role. We had to simulate their movements and emotions through one-on-one sessions, such as controlling the speed of their movements, talking about their feelings, and training character development and body language. “
Erica was originally going to debut on a different project that should have been directed by Tony Kaye (American history X), but the producers split from Kaye because of the schedule. Director of yes and Erica’s human co-star aren’t together yet, but the producers filmed some of their scenes in Japan in 2019. They hope to film the rest of yes in Europe in June 2021.
This story first appeared in the June 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here for subscribe.