Tim Burton on AIs imitating his style: "It's like my soul is being stolen"

Tim Burton on AIs imitating his style: “It’s like my soul is being stolen”

While taking stock of the progress of Beetlejuice 2, the director admits his fear regarding the development of artificial intelligence.

During an interview in The Independentorganized to speak Beetlejuice 2which he largely filmed this year, the creator of‘Edward Scissorhands is questioned about a series of photos shared in July by Buzzfeed the principle of which is the following: what if Disney animated films were made by Tim Burton ? The problem is that like the video version of Star Wars by Wes Andersonthese visuals were designed 100% by artificial intelligence.

From its database, very rich in images of Burton’s real work, Midjourney has created characters and settings from Disney animated classics, in the style of Tim Burton. “They used an AI to create my version of Disney characters! he exclaims. I can’t describe to you how I feel about this. Let’s just say it reminded me of when other cultures told us: ‘Don’t take my picture or you’ll steal my soul.’

Taking for example a creation of Elsa, Snow Queenrecreated quite pale, with big eyes, obviously, dressed in a black dress and crossing a dark forest, he recognizes that what helps to frighten him in these new technologies is the extent to which “some creations look really good.” “But what it does is it sucks something out of you along the wayhe adds. It takes away a little of your soul or your spirit; it’s very confusing. It’s especially disturbing when it affects you personally, it’s like a robot is stealing your humanity, your soul.”

Tim Burton facing the Hollywood strike: “The filming of Beetlejuice 2 was 99% finished”

The use of artificial intelligence is currently being debated in Hollywood. Not just regarding the use of fabricated images “in the manner of…”, but also in other areas: studio bosses can ask software to write a screenplay based on a royalty-free novel, for example. This potentially takes away work from a real screenwriter, who will only be hired after the fact, to rewrite certain passages of the script based on what will have been rendered by the AI.

Another example recently caused a scandal: an extra from one of Disney+’s flagship series, WandaVisionrevealed that his entire body had been scanned on set, in costume, in order to be able to integrate it into future Marvel projects. Without her having been paid for it. This means that by giving him a small fee for one day of extra time, the studio could then reuse his image endlessly for its MCU films and series. In the long term, after having scanned thousands of actors in costume, will the firm completely do without extras for this type of production?

The question of AI is at the heart of the strikers’ demands. If they demonstrate to obtain fairer wages overall, the fear of being replaced by robots on several key tasks in the production of a film or series is also part of the concerns. They are asking big film and streaming studios to regulate this type of practice and limit them.

Studios and streamers consider turning to AI during writers’ strike

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