Deep fakes and AI have grown leaps and bounds over the past several years. The technology has grown mature enough to the point that mainstream media such as films and TV shows regularly use them during post-production.
While deep fake and AI technology are now readily available, some actors prefer to do things the traditional way. Keanu Reeves, best known for his role in Matrix and John Wick film series, prefers to keep his distance from digitally altered performances.
The actor recently expressed his intention to keep his performances away from using such technologies. In an interview with Wired, Reeves shared that he added a clause in his contract that disallows digital manipulations of his performance.
"I don’t mind if someone takes a blink out during an edit. But early on, in the early 2000s, or it might have been the ’90s, I had a performance changed," Reeves said. "They added a tear to my face, and I was just like, ‘Huh?!’ It was like, ‘I don’t even have to be here.'"
The actor added, "What’s frustrating about that is you lose your agency. When you give a performance in a film, you know you’re going to be edited, but you’re participating in that. If you go into deepfake land, it has none of your points of view. That’s scary. It’s going to be interesting to see how humans deal with these technologies. They’re having such cultural, sociological impacts, and the species is being studied. There’s so much ‘data’ on behaviors now."
Reeves has not revealed which of his movies were digitally edited, however, it is clear that he isn’t comfortable using the technology. In Matrix: Resurrections, Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss weren’t digitally de-aged for flashback scenes and opted to re-use footage from the original movies.
More recently, there have been viral videos of a Keanu Reeves deep fake. One particular Keanu Reeves deep fake account on Tiktok has over 6.5 million followers. It is a bit unsettling as it is very hard to distinguish what is real acting and what is generated by AI.
With the rise of deep fakes, Reeves questions the value of the entertainment industry in the future. The actor has said that a corporatocracy is behind this technology.
"People are growing up with these tools: We’re listening to music already that’s made by AI in the style of Nirvana, there’s NFT digital art," Reeves explains. "It’s cool, like, Look what the cute machines can make! But there’s a corporatocracy behind it that’s looking to control those things."
He adds, "Culturally, socially, we’re gonna be confronted by the value of real, or the non-value. And then what’s going to be pushed on us? What’s going to be presented to us? It’s this sensorium. It’s spectacle. And it’s a system of control and manipulation. We’re on our knees looking at cave walls and seeing the projections, and we’re not having the chance to look behind us."
It is great for fans that an actor as talented as Keanu Reeves is taking a stand on the issue of using deep fakes. Reeves is one actor who gives his very best in his performances.
Reeves is known to perform his own stunts and has trained vigorously for his roles. Recently, Ana de Armas revealed that her entire body was aching after doing stunt work with Reeves for the John Wick spinoff film Ballerina.
Keanu Reeves will be returning to the big screen this year with John Wick: Chapter 4, which opens in theaters on March 24.