We may not be getting those Left Eye, Michael Jackson or Notorious B.I.G. holograms we were hoping for anytime soon, but one of rock’s royal court will be digitally resurrected.
Digital Domain Media Group, the company behind the earthshaking Tupac Shakur hologram that created a global sensation at this year’s Coachella festival announced this week that it is planning to create a virtual Elvis Presley. Working with the Core Media Group — which owns the rights to Elvis’ estate — Digital Domain said it is working on a series of “virtual” Elvis likenesses for a wide range of entertainment projects that could include everything from film and TV to “multi-platform productions throughout the world.”
DDMG, the Oscar-winning folks behind the special effects in films such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” has already started on some of the Elvis virtual renderings and plans to announce plans for a full roll-out soon.
“Elvis Presley is the king of rock and roll … you have to start with the king,” Ed Ulbrich, Chief Creative Officer at Digital Domain told MTV News when asked why the company’s next major project would focus on the first wave rock star. “We’re in the creative development stages now. Instead of a single application we’re looking to bring Elvis back across a host of platforms, including live concerts in venues.”
Like the Tupac stunt, Ulbrich said the Elvis rendering would not be based on archival footage, but original, exclusive performances by the King using the company’s bleeding-edge technology. He was not at liberty to describe how that process is managed, but Ulbrich promised that like in “Button” and “TRON: Legacy,” it would involve the holy grail of the industry: creating a synthetic likeness of a human being that is just as believable as the real thing.
The company is in the process of building the Elvis programming now and Ulbrich said there was no timetable on when we might see the first fruits of this new experiment because the Digital Domain team is determined to take as long as necessary to get it right. “We take this very seriously because we want to pay great respect to Elvis and his legacy,” he said.
In a statement announcing the deal, Elvis Presley Enterprises President and CEO, Jack Soden said, “This is a new and exciting way to bring the magic and music of Elvis Presley to life. His lifelong fans will be thrilled all over again and new audiences will discover the electric experience of Elvis the performer.”
While Ulbrich said he was not at liberty to discuss what other music legends may get the Tupac/Elvis treatment next, he acknowledged that is not to say that, “we’re not talking about other things or looking at other things.” For the time being, though, the focus is on Elvis.
Now, as whether we’ll see young, hip-swiveling Elvis or the latter-period Las Vegas version, Ulbrich would only say, “you’ll have to [wait and] see.”