Humanipulation refers to the process of taking images of living or deceased people and manipulating them using digital techniques. With recent advances made in the area of computer animation a whole new world of special effects for the entertainment industry is available to film makers. Dead presidents shake hands with living actors, dead actors come back to life to complete performances, and digital renditions of living and dead celebrities are given lives of their own inside the computer. We are now able to re-creating actors who have retired or died, and giving them starring roles in new movies. This has most recently been seen in the latest “Star Wars” film Rogue One – A Star Wars story. Peter Cushing, the actor playing the role of Grand Moff Tarkin or Governor Tarkin in the original trilogy in 1977, was brought back, (despite having died in 1994) to play a major role in the film. Whilst the digital effects were not perfect, soon, an audience will not be able to tell the difference. In the movie “Forest Gump” a dead president shook hands with a living actor. The new technology has resulted in some actors taking steps to restrict the use of their likeness after their death. Robin Williams restricted the use of his image for instance after his death for 25 years.
View the following video clip (originally shown on ABC News) which looks at how the digital recreation of a number of actors was completed in Rogue One – A star Wars Story
At an Australian Effects and Animation Festival, a discussion was conducted with professional animators to decide if this practice was ethical.
If an actor had never given permission for their image to be used in this way, then it infringes their copyright and privacy
The cost and effort involved is not worth it
The manipulated performance may not be true to the actor’s real character or beliefs.
There is an attraction in being able to continue to enjoy the actors we love in new roles
Money can be made from even the briefest of advertisements
There is an artistic and technical satisfaction in being able to achieve it.