'Top Gun' producer says he doesn't believe claims AI will replace key jobs

There are reports the technology is quietly being used behind the scenes, but studios haven't widely admitted it

"Top Gun" producer Jerry Bruckheimer sees the overall benefit of artificial intelligence.

"Anything that makes our lives easier that doesn’t take jobs away from people that we work with every day is good for everybody. It gives them a better movie experience. We can make things look more real and things like that," he told Fox News Digital.

However, he didn’t see the technology eliminating important jobs in the industry.

"We’e certainly not going to replace actors. You’re never going to replace the key crew members that we work with. (They’re) always going to be there," the "Bad Boys" producer said.

Close up of Jerry Bruckheimer

Jerry Bruckheimer told Fox News Digital he sees the benefits of AI, "Anything that makes our lives easier that doesn’t take jobs away from people that we work with every day is good for everybody." (Kate Green/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK)


Bruckheimer’s comments came after a report from The Hollywood Reporter that many in the industry are quietly using AI behind the scenes.

David Stripinis, a VFX professional who has worked on films like "Avatar," "Man of Steel" and several Marvel titles, told the outlet, "There are tons of people who are using AI, but they can’t admit it publicly because you still need artists for a lot of work. And they’re going to turn against you. Right now, it’s a PR problem more than a tech problem."

AI expert Marva Bailer told Fox News Digital artificial intelligence is going to continue to be part of the process of filmmaking and marketing, and studios will have to find the best way to inform their audiences of how it’s being used.

"Studios are public businesses, and they're looking for deep customer relationships. And their customers now are very educated on technology, and they're looking for this high level of transparency," Bailer said. "So, they want to know the imagination, but then they also want the reality. And customers are demanding this reality.

"And it's going to be a really fine balance of how and when to engage customers. We're seeing some really great examples of how companies are being super transparent with AI, and they're having activations and using brand marketing to have customers interact using AI with the activation. And, so, when you do those types of campaigns, then it's kind of hard to argue because now they're part of that process."

'Top Gun' producer says he doesn't believe claims AI will replace key jobsVideo


However, two films have recently faced backlash for the use of AI.

A24’s "Civil War" was blasted by critics online for its seemingly AI-generated promotional images shared on the film’s social media pages. The photos depicted scenes not featured in the film and also had certain details common in AI-generated images, such as inaccurately depicting a landmark (in one image Chicago’s Marina Towers on opposite sides of the river) or showing a car with three doors on one side.

Fox News Digital reached out to A24 for comment when the images were first posted, but the studio did not respond.

The horror movie "Late Night with the Devil" also used a handful of AI-generated cutaway graphics for the fictional talk show in the film, which the writers and directors, Colin and Cameron Cairnes, defended after some moviegoers threatened to boycott.

Kirsten Dunst on the Civil War red carpet

Kirsten Dunst starred in "Civil War," which faced backlash over its alleged use of AI images in its marketing online. (Amy Sussman/WireImage)


In a statement to Variety, they said, "In conjunction with our amazing graphics and production design team, all of whom worked tirelessly to give this film the '70s aesthetic we had always imagined, we experimented with AI for three still images which we edited further and ultimately appear as very brief interstitials in the film.

"We feel incredibly fortunate to have had such a talented and passionate cast, crew and producing team go above and beyond to help bring this film to life. We can’t wait for everyone to see it for themselves this weekend."

While there was backlash online, Bailer noted, "Most movie goers don't know what AI was being used for. So, we're thinking about the cool, sexy, imaginative ideas, but it's actually been used for some of the really basic and actually annoying habits that we have as humans," like correcting eye movements. 

AI has been used in recent releases like "Dune: Part Two" for the Fremen characters, who have distinct glowing blue eyes.

Javier Bardem in a scene from Dune Part Two

Javier Bardem played a member of the Fremen, who have distinctly glowing blue eyes, in "Dune: Part Two." The film's VFX supervisor revealed in production notes that production used an AI model to speed up the process of digitally altering the actors' eye color. (Niko Tavernise/2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment)


In the official production notes for the film, Visual Effects Supervisor Paul Lambert explained they created "a machine learning model, an algorithm trained from those ‘Dune’ shots to find human eyes in an image, which would then give us a matte for the different parts of the eye. 

"We then used this multi-part matte to tint the eyes blue. Some worked better than others. Those others we did by hand. It actually went full circle sometimes, in that we had to take out some of the blue eyes that got generated in the non-Freman characters."

placeholderIn "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga," AI was used to blend the features of its star, Anya Taylor-Joy, with that of Alyla Browne, who plays Furiosa as a child, which Taylor-Joy said explained openly during an appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show."

"[Director] George Miller had the idea very early on. The audience was already getting used to a new Furiosa [Charlize Theron in ‘Fury Road’]. He wanted the transition from both actors [Browne and Taylor-Joy] playing her to be seamless. And so I did two days of the craziest things you could ever possibly imagine. And they mixed our faces together," Taylor-Joy said.

She added that, in the beginning of the film, about 35% of her face appears on Browne’s, and by the time she’s about to take over the role in the story, it’s about 80%.

Alyla Browne, Anya Taylor-Joy and George Miller attend the "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" (Furiosa: Une Saga Mad Max) Red Carpet at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival

Anya Taylor-Joy said "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" director George Miller was on board with using AI to blend her face with child actress Alyla Browne's face for a more seamless transition between performers in the role. (Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic)

Taylor-Joy acknowledged the concerns many have about AI replacing not only actors and writers, but behind-the-scenes artists as well.

"There’s a reason that our industry went on strike," she said. "It is something that is frightening. And I think if you’re going to use it, you have to be honest about it, and it always has to be consensual. It’s the lack of consent in anything in life that is the scary thing."

AI was a major sticking point in negotiations last year during the strikes, and some protections for actors and writers have been put in place

And while some may still worry about being replaced, Bailer, like Bruckheimer, sees a net positive. 

"We're not going to replace everything entirely, but it's really to unlock that imagination and iteration. … But to have that starting point. That's where AI is really helping. And people that have a creative mindset are going to need to lean into that because it's a new era, and it gives them the opportunity to do work that they might not have ever imagined," Bailer said.

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