Star Wars filmmaker defends 'reviving' dead actors digitally for Rogue One

Publish Date
Thursday, 19 January 2017, 8:08AM

The CGI resurrection of actors is a controversial issue, but the person who spearheaded the disturbing new trend says he has nothing to apologise for.

John Kroll, visual effects supervisor for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has hit back at criticism over the ethics of using technology to digitally resurrect dead actors.

Peter Cushing played Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars movie. He died in 1994, but as the character had a central role in the prequel, they used a mix of CGI and a stand-in actor to resurrect the character.

It has raised moral issues about the role of technology and what it means moving forwards, but Kroll has defended their actions.

Speaking to Yahoo Movies, he said: "We weren't doing anything that I think Peter Cushing would've objected to. I think this work was done with a great deal of affection and care.

"We know that Peter Cushing was very proud of his involvement in Star Wars and had said as much, and that he regretted that he never got a chance to be in another Star Wars film because George [Lucas] had killed off his character."

Kroll added that it was done in consultation with Cushing's estate, saying: "We wouldn't do this if the estate had objected or didn't feel comfortable with this idea."

A report over the weekend suggested Lucasfilm and Disney were looking to resurrect Carrie Fisher for the ninth Star Wars movie, after the actress's unexpected death in December 2016. It was later denied by Disney.

Fisher, however, was a fan of her digitally de-ageing in the final shot of Rogue One, according to Kroll.

"Kathy [Kennedy, the producer of Star Wars] called me right after she showed it to [Fisher] and said how fantastic she thought it was. So she was very much in favour of it."

Kroll, who shares a story credit for Rogue One, also defended the CGI from criticism of how it looked.

"There are people that have said quite vehemently that it looks terrible and looks like a video game, and I will assert that that is not the case."

While no other actors are set for resurrection just yet, Martin Scorsese will reportedly digitally de-age Robert De Niro and Al Pacino for his upcoming project The Irishman.

Questions of morality have not affected the box office in any way. Rogue One has stormed the international box office, earning over US$1 billion in the month it has been in cinemas.

- NZ Herald