It appears Hollywood has given up on humans and has chosen to cast robots instead.
A new science fiction film, with a single-letter title "b," is being cooked in Tinseltown, and worth no less than $70 million. The star? An artificially intelligent actor who goes by the name Erica.
"b" is about a scientist whose program to enhance the human DNA runs into imperilment. He designed an artificially intelligent woman who he now helps escape, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Aside from Erica, there have been no other actors announced as of this writing. A director is yet to be decided as well.
It's the first lead role for Erica, who was originally set to star in a different film with Tony Kaye, director of American History X, in tow. Due to scheduling conflicts, however, the producers were led in another direction.
Erica has already started filming some of the scenes for "b" in 2019. The rest of the film is expected to be shot in June 2021. Her on-camera appearance officially started two years ago in Japan, where she started as a newscaster.
Erica was created as part of a study involving human and robot interactions by Japanese scientists Kohei Ogawa and Hiroshi Ishiguro. She was designed capable of understanding natural language, complete with facial expressions and human-like voice. Interestingly, her creators programmed her so she would have the knowledge of method acting, producer Sam Khoze told THR.
"In other methods of acting, actors involve their own life experiences in the role," Khoze said. "But Erica has no life experiences. We had to simulate her motions and emotions through one-on-one sessions, such as controlling the speed of her movements, talking through her feelings, and coaching character development and body language."
The upcoming sci-fi film will be produced by the same team behind "Loving Vincent," Bondit Capital Media, which will work alongside Belgium's Happy Moon Productions and New York's Ten Ten Global Media.
Erica is the world's first robot leading lady, but there have been robotic actors before her. A German stage adaption of "My Fair Lady" called "My Square Lady" in 2015 starred a robot. The year before, another robot, which is also the work of Ishiguro, starred in a Japanese-French stage production of "The Metamorphosis," in which instead of an insect (as is the case in the novella by Franz Kafka), the lead wakes up to find out he's been turned into a robot.
"b" is based on a story by visual effects supervisor Eric Pham, Tarek Zohdy, and Khoze