The Future. Created with the permission of the Piaf estate, Edith will be an animated film produced with AI. While there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about this project, its success could create an avalanche of estates commissioning their own projects to keep past talent’s memory fresh for a new generation of potential fans… and maybe hold on to the rights of popular works before they enter the public domain.
La Vie en code
Warner Music Group and production company Seriously Happy are reviving the “Little Sparrow of Paris” using a proprietary AI system.
- Scripted by Julie Veille and Gilles Marliac, the 90-minute film traverses between Paris and New York from the 1920s to 1960s, with the narrator, the titular Edith, “uncover[ing] aspects of her life that were previously unknown.”
- Piaf’s image is being created with a system trained on pictures and video of her, while “archival footage of Piaf from TV performances and interviews, stage shows, and her personal library” will be interspersed throughout the film.
- The voice and music in the film will be a mix of recordings and AI generations of her voice, created with “hundreds of voice clips […] some of which are over 80 years old.”
- Apparently, there’s no director or finishing animators on the project, with the generative AI content being overseen by the screenwriters and WMG head Charlie Cohen — putting Jeffrey Katzenberg’s theory to the test.
Although a proof of concept has already been made in-house at Warner Music Group — which has been at the forefront of experimenting with AI in everything from talent creation to new royalty systems — it says it’s looking for a Hollywood studio partner to help complete and release the finished product.
Whoever does take it on may be the first to test if audiences are interested in wholly AI-generated films… that is, if even trying is worth the risk of angering the creative community.