Sure, it’s terrific for turning human actors into big blue alien Na’vis. But the photorealistic CGI technology James Cameron perfected for Avatar could easily be used for other, even more mind-blowing purposes—like, say, bringing Humphrey Bogart back to life, or making Clint Eastwood look 35 again. “How about another Dirty Harry movie where Clint looks the way he looked in 1975?” Cameron suggests. “Or a James Bond movie where Sean Connery looks the way he did in Doctor No? How cool would that be?”
In a way, Cameron has already pulled off this trick: Sigourney Weaver appears to drop 20 years whenever she slips her consciousness into an alien body in Avatar. But Cameron’s facial scanning process is so precise—zeroing in to the very pores of an actor’s skin—that virtually any manipulation is possible. You may not be able to totally replace an actor—“There’s no way to scan what’s underneath the surface to what the actor is feeling,” the director notes—but it is now theoretically possible to extend careers by digitally keeping stars young pretty much forever. “If Tom Cruise left instructions for his estate that it was okay to use his likeness in Mission Impossible movies for the next 500 years, I would say that would be fine,” says Cameron. Less fine, at least to Cameron, is bringing long dead stars back to life. “You could put Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart in a movie together, but it wouldn’t be them. You’d have to have somebody play them. And that’s where I think you cross an ethical boundary…”
We have few boundaries here at EW.com. So if you could use Cameron’s death-defying, age reversing technology any way you’d want, what would you do with it, PopWatchers?
(For more on James Cameron and the secrets of Avatar, pick up the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.)
Photo Credit: Weta