Dr. Frankenstein. Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Dr. Moreau. Skynet. Brundlefly. Sid from Toy Story. Ricky Ullman in the 2004 Disney Channel Original Movie Pixel Perfect. All of these characters act as cautionary figures about the evils of playing God and tampering with human life, whether through creation or reanimation. Let the dead rest! these texts say. Worldwide XR CEO (villain-name alert!) Travis Cloyd happens to disagree, and plans on using the Re-Animator School of Casting technique for more entertainment in the future.
Last week, we learned about the intellectual property licensing group CMG Worldwide, and its plan to resurrect actor James Dean via CGI so that he can star in a man-and-his-dog war movie called Finding Jack. Many celebrities and film fans were mad at this obviously very creepy venture.
CMG Worldwide CEO Mark Roesler saw the buzz that the James Dean news garnered and doubled down. Variety now reports that the company has since merged with another company to form Worldwide XR, “a new company that aims to bring digital humans to traditional film as well as augmented and virtual reality.” According to its website, in addition to holding the rights to “a stunning array of personalities and brands” like Bette Davis, Jimmy Stewart, and Rock Hudson, it also controls the images of nonactors like Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks. So if you’ve ever wanted to race Formula One cars against a civil-rights icon in an immersive VR game, that might be something you can straight-up hire this company to create, you weirdo.
It’s still too early to tell, but perhaps this technology will be used less for groundbreaking educational and artistic tools and more for, well, selling cars and vacuums and stuff? XR also offers “Deep Fake Management,” so there’s that piece of Orwellian evil, too. Concerning the backlash, Cloyd said, “It’s disruptive … Some people dislike it,” but urged skeptics to “think of it as James Dean 2.0.” Better. Faster. Stronger. Creepier.