Why should a little thing like death stop a celebrity from hawking some product that has nothing to do with his or her personality or work? Well, as Galaxy chocolate has proven…it can’t!
A CGI clone of the lovely late Audrey Hepburn has been creepily rendered by creepy ad folks in the above commercial for Galaxy chocolate because sure, why not trot out the literally re-animated body of an icon to sell candy? This commercial marks a new step in the evolution of the computer regeneration of deceased famous people. We’ve seen John Wayne sell Coors Light, Fred Astaire dance with a vacuum, Tupac share the stage with Snoop Dog, and Harrison Ford in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” But each of those dead-folks-come-to-lifes were essentially cropped out pervious performances integrated into the real world. The Hepburn commercial is an actual computer animation. Not sure if her entire body is animated or if it’s just Hepburn’s face on an actress’s body, sort of like that horrifying young Jeff Bridges in “Tron Legacy.” Could even be mo-cap. This is a much more advanced version of the trickery used by Robert Zemeckis to resurrect JFK and John Lennon in “Forrest Gump.” But either way, it’s kind of gross, right? I suppose we’re talking about this right now, when we weren’t yesterday. In all honesty, I had never heard of Galaxy chocolate until this commerical popped it up on my radar, and that’s the point of advertising, so they deserve some credit. I don’t know though. Would Hepburn be okay with this? Unfortunately, she ain’t around to ask. Actually, she is now! Let’s ask CG Audrey and see what she has to say.
As much as I have reservations about this sort of thing, the artistry behind the ad is impressive, and a stellar move forward in realistic recreation. Actors are becoming obsolete in certain areas of film, TV, and video production, and this ad is the opening shots in a full on CGI character revolution. CGI characters have traditionally not been of the human persuasion, and when they have, the uncanny valley has been much too deep. We’ll see where this heads.
What do you think? Is it okay to use dead celebrities in advertising? Has James Cameron been CGI all along?