A real “Ex Machina”? AI robot Erica to direct sci-fi movie

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Artificially intelligent robot Erica is ready for her close-up.

"Ex Machina"

A24 / Shutterstock

What if Alex Garland’s 2014 sci-fi favorite “Ex Machina” featured a real, artificially intelligent robot as Ava instead of Alicia Vikander? Movie buffs are about to find out, sort of. Bondit Capital Media, Happy Moon Productions and Ten Ten Global Media are offering $ 70 million to produce “b”, a sci-fi film that will feature AI robot Erica in the lead role (via The National, as reported for the first time by THR). The companies present “b” as the first film in history to be directed by an actor who is an AI robot.

“b” follows a scientist who must help the AI ​​robot he created achieve freedom after a program he designed to perfect human DNA has dangerous consequences. The AI ​​robot Erica is the character of the AI ​​robot after its creators, Japanese scientists Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawa, taught it to act by applying the principles of method action to its artificial intelligence programming. The film is an brainchild of Life Entertainment producer Sam Khoze, VFX supervisor Eric Pham and Tarek Zohdy.

“In other methods of acting, the actors involve their own life experiences in the role,” Khoze said in a statement. “But Erica has no life experience. She was created from scratch to play the role. We had to simulate his movements and emotions in one-on-one sessions, such as controlling the speed of his movements, speaking through his feelings, and training character development and body language.

“American History X” director Tony Kaye was originally scheduled to use Erica in a feature film produced by Khoze, but the project fell apart due to scheduling conflicts. This film was called “2nd Born” and was announced in August 2018. The deadline indicated at the time that Erica would be trained in “different methods and techniques of acting before filming”. Kaye and Khoze also hoped to gain recognition for the SAG robot.

A director for “b” will be announced at a later date, as will the full cast. Production on “b” is slated to begin in summer 2021, although producers have already started recording footage of Erica that can be used in the feature film.

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