As Top: Gun Maverick shows, sometimes reality has a huge impact on the form that some works of art take. After all, it’s pretty easy to let current events shape the narrative, and that can make the whole experience much more relevant. However, sometimes these influences have a smaller scale. But in many cases they are no less acute.
One of the last to take this philosophy to heart is the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick, which is already setting box office records. Tom Cruise’s film impressed both new and returning viewers, especially giving the latter group a lot to get excited about. Many long-time fans already knew about the return of a certain actor. But, given the real circumstances, the manner of his appearance remained a mystery.
Movie icon Val Kilmer, who played the role of Tom “Ice Man” Kazansky in the original “Best Shooter”, will certainly appear in the sequel. But after the actor was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014 and subsequent treatment, he lost the ability to speak. To honor Kilmer’s memory and make things more accurate for real life, the people behind Top Gun: Maverick changed his character so that Iceman also developed cancer and could only communicate using the keyboard. But they added another surprise to the movie, and it has similarities to Star Wars.
Kilmer actually gets 1 cue in the movie. But, given the actor’s inability to speak, this was actually achieved with the help of sophisticated artificial intelligence. program. Just as Mark Hamill’s voice was recreated in Boba Fett’s Book, Top Gun: Maverick used sophisticated artificial intelligence. consisting of numerous archival samples of Kilmer’s voice to create a convincing copy. The end result was a pleasant surprise that the audience saw in the film itself.
The program was created in 2021 thanks to a partnership between Kilmer himself and A.I. Sonantik Company. According to Sonantic technical director John Flynn, they created more than 40 different models before finally narrowing the list down to the one they heard in the movie. “I am grateful to the entire Sonantic team who masterfully restored my voice in a way I never imagined possible,” Kilmer said of AI. “As human beings, the ability to communicate is the basis of our existence, and the side effects of throat cancer prevent others from understanding me. Being able to tell your story in a voice that feels authentic and familiar is an incredibly special gift.”
Although it is not exactly a 1:1 replacement for the natural human voice, such technology is a wonderful reminder that science has evolved in a way that can adequately compensate for the problems that humanity has faced since time immemorial. The opportunity to once again hear the voice of someone many thought they had heard for the last time is certainly a wonderful goal. I hope things get even better from here.
“The Best Shooter: Maverick” is now in theaters.