The daughter of legendary actor and entertainer Robin Williams is speaking out against technology that could bring him back to the big screen.
Robin Mclaurin Williams was a legendary actor and comedian known for his unparalleled talent, boundless energy, and incredible versatility. He tragically passed away on August 11, 2014, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire and entertain. Robin Williams was a force of nature. His performances were characterized by a manic energy, a mastery of voices and accents, and a sharp, observational humor that could effortlessly switch from one topic to another.
He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dr. Sean Maguire in the film Good Will Hunting, a role that allowed him to blend humor with profound emotional depth. Other notable dramatic performances include Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, and The Fisher King.
He also starred in family films such as Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), Flubber (1997), RV (2006), and The Night at the Museum franchise. Fans fell in love with Robin Williams in his animated films Aladdin (1992), where he voiced the genie, and Happy Feet (2006). The list can go on and on with fan-favorite films.
Even after Mr. Williams’s passing, he has remained a beloved figure in the eyes of fans everywhere. For Disney, his work, especially in Aladdin, has been considered unparalleled. Will Smith paid tribute to him in a live-action version of Aladdin (2019), but there’s still no doubt that many fans would’ve loved to see Robin Williams make a return to the franchise. Now, it seems that a controversial topic could give them that chance.
The use of deceased celebrities’ voices in various forms of media and entertainment is a complex and often controversial topic. While it can be a way to pay tribute to their iconic contributions, it also raises ethical and legal questions about consent, authenticity, and the potential for exploitation. Examples of this are Oliver Reed, known for his roles in films like Gladiator, he passed away during the filming of Gladiator in 1999. The filmmakers used a combination of CGI, body doubles, and archival footage to complete his scenes in the movie, allowing his character to remain part of the story.
The use of technology to recreate or manipulate the voices and likenesses of deceased celebrities raises important questions about consent, property rights, and the authenticity of the creative work. Dateline has reported that Robin Williams’s voice may be shared through AI, and his daughter, Zelda Williams, disapproves.
Mr. Williams recently called out the “disturbing” technology that was used to recreate her late dad.
“I am not an impartial voice in SAG’s fight against AI,” Zelda Williams said in a statement shared on Deadline. “I’ve witnessed for YEARS how many people want to train these models to create/recreate actors who cannot consent, like Dad. This isn’t theoretical, it is very very real.”
Williams said that she has already seen technology that allows people to have access to Robin Williams’ voice and get him to say “whatever they want him to say.”
“I’ve already heard AI used to get his ‘voice’ to say whatever people want and while I find it personally disturbing, the ramifications go far beyond my own feelings. Living actors deserve a chance to create characters with their choices, to voice cartoons, to put their HUMAN effort and time into the pursuit of performance.”
There have been numerous conversations already about the use of AI, and how it might be utilized in the future, particularly in Hollywood. Tom Hanks, for example, has gone on record saying that he believes he’ll continue to be seen in movies far after his passing through the use of this technology, but many other actors and actresses are concerned about the unprecedented technology and what that might mean for their future.