Fans were delighted by the late Robin Williams’ unexpected debut as the charming Genie of Aladdin in the most recent short film from Disney.
Despite his away in 2014, William’s voice appears in the Disney film Once Upon a Studio along with a number of other well-known characters.
The movie, which made its debut on Sunday, 15 October, honours Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 100th birthday.
Producer Yvett Merino said that while there have been some debates in Hollywood about employing AI to revive humans, this was not the case with the Genie.
“It was actually direct lines from past recordings,” Merino told publication Polygon.
“When we do animated recordings on any feature, there are a number of takes. So we were able to find this line that fits so well in our short.”
In the short video, Olaf from Frozen is drawing on a pad of paper when William’s Genie explodes out of it, knocking him to the ground.
After making a quip about not having seen a tumble like that since Rome, Genie uses her magic to put Olaf back together. Genie then jokes ‘I haven’t seen a fall like that since Rome’
Jennifer Lee, the chief creative officer of Disney Animation Studios, also confirmed that Disney had gotten permission from Williams’ estate to include him in the upcoming movie, which Merino called “so important.”
“So many of us who work here at Disney Animation were inspired by Aladdin and Robin’s performance. It meant the world that they said yes to his inclusion in the short.
“And [it was] so special that Eric Goldberg, who animated Genie for the [original] feature film, did the animation here as well.”
There has been a lot of debate around the use of AI in Hollywood films.
Zelda, William’s daughter, has previously called artificial intelligence (AI) renditions of her father’s voice “disturbing.”
The company, however, has a strong no AI policy, according to Brad Simonsen, a producer on the short film.
“Right now, we have a firm no on [AI]. In fact, Simonsen informed the newspaper, AI was not permitted inside the structure.
He also emphasised the careful planning that the crew insisted on doing for the celebratory short film.
“What Dan Abraham [studio director] and Trent Correy [shorts director and animator] were specific about was, we were hoping to get back the animators [who originally served as lead animators on some of the short’s characters], because in 2D, in hand-drawn, a supervisor actually led for that character,” he added.
“They were the ones who kept that character on model for the whole show. So bringing back those folks who led those characters was a dream.”
The short movie is available on Hulu+ Live TV and Fubo TV for anybody who missed it.
ROBIN WILLIAMS’ DAUGHTER CRITICISES ‘DISTURBING’ AI RECREATION OF HER DAD
2 OCT 2023 | BYELLIE BRADBURY
In a sensational turn of events, Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams, has taken to social media to sound the alarm on the growing threat of artificial intelligence (AI) recreations of her late father’s likeness. But this is just the tip of the iceberg in Hollywood’s epic showdown with AI.
Hollywood was rocked when its talented writers went on strike on May 2nd, demanding not only better minimum pay and stable work but also urgent safeguards against the looming AI takeover.
Just last week, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced a historic settlement, locking in vital agreements to combat the AI menace. However, the Screen Actors Guild American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which joined the strike in July, stands firm, determined to protect their turf.
Enter Zelda Williams, Robin Williams’ daughter, a warrior in this epic saga. She’s using her voice to raise the alarm about the urgent need for actors to be protected and empowered in the face of AI’s relentless advance into film and TV.
But why is SAG-AFTRA striking?
Much like their WGA counterparts, they demand a boost in minimum pay, transparency in studio negotiations for pay raises, and a piece of the streaming revenue pie. But the battle is not just about money; it’s a fight to preserve the very essence of acting.
AI poses a grave threat, and Williams knows it firsthand. AI can now ‘create/recreate actors,’ and this phenomenon is not a distant possibility but an eerie reality. Actors, both living and late legends like her father, are not safe from this AI juggernaut.
Zelda bared her soul on Instagram, revealing how AI can manipulate her father’s likeness and voice without his consent, turning him into a puppet for anyone’s whims. It’s not just personally disturbing; it’s a nightmarish descent into the unknown.
In her impassioned plea, Zelda Williams reminds us of the dire stakes. Living actors deserve the right to infuse their characters with their unique choices, lend their voices to beloved animations, and pour their precious time and effort into their craft.
AI recreations, at best, pale imitations of true talent, and at worst, grotesque abominations born from the darkest corners of the industry. Hollywood, once a beacon of creativity and human expression, now faces a Frankensteinian monster that threatens to unravel the very essence of what it should stand for.
The battle rages on, as Hollywood’s stars unite against AI’s relentless onslaught. The world watches, captivated by the epic struggle to protect the soul of entertainment from the clutches of AI. Will the stars emerge victorious, or will the darkness of AI engulf the silver screen? Stay tuned for the next thrilling chapter in this epic saga!