The Big Picture
- Zelda Williams raises concerns about the use of AI in replicating her late father’s voice, emphasizing the need for consent and the opportunity for living actors to create characters.
- The Screen Actors Guild strike includes demands for protections against AI, higher pay rates, increased residuals, and fairer wages for performers in video game production.
- Robin Williams will posthumously appear in a new Disney short, with previously unreleased dialogue, approved by his estate, showcasing the importance of obtaining proper consent and support for such projects.
Zelda Williams, the daughter of Robin Williams, has expressed her concerns about the increasing dependence on AI in the film industry. She shared her personal discomfort when AI was employed to replicate her late father’s voice. Zelda took to Instagram to voice her support for the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
Zelda’s comments come in the wake of an historic tentative agreement struck by the Writers’ Guild of America, which had been striking, over issues including the use of AI in crafting and writing screenplays. Protections against AI is also one of the key demands in the Screen Actors Guild strike, as well as higher minimum pay rates, increased streaming residuals, and fairer wages for performers who predominantly work in video game production.
I am not an impartial voice in SAG’s fight against AI. I’ve witnessed for YEARS how many people want to train these models to create/recreate actors who cannot consent, like Dad. This isn’t theoretical, it is very very real. I’ve already heard AI used to get his ‘voice’ to say whatever people want and while I find it personally disturbing, the ramifications go far beyond my own feelings. Living actors deserve a chance to create characters with their choices, to voice cartoons, to put their HUMAN effort and time into the pursuit of performance. These recreations are, at their very best, a poor facsimile of greater people, but at their worst, a horrendous Frankensteinian monster, cobbled together from the worst bits of everything this industry is, instead of what it should stand for.
A Legacy Lives On
Robin Williams is set to posthumously appear in Once Upon a Studio, a new Disney short, playing his character from Aladdin, the Genie of the Lamp. Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in Disney’s Frozen, has officially verified that the short film incorporates “previously unreleased dialogue” recorded by Robin Williams before his passing, with the permission of his estate. This short film, initially unveiled at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June and slated for release later this month, unites numerous Disney characters to commemorate the studio’s 100th anniversary. Gad’s comments can be found below.
“It’s important to not jump to conclusions before knowing all the facts,” said Gad. “Me getting to act alongside my idol posthumously, using previously unheard dialogue, would NEVER EVER happen without the consent of his estate. My love for Robin Williams is literally unmatched and I would never do anything unless I was guaranteed that it was with all of the proper sign-off and support.”
Once Upon a Studio debuts exclusively on ABC on October 15.