Ghostbusters' Dan Aykroyd Welcomes His Digital Afterlife Amidst Hollywood Unrest Over Deepfakes
At a time when technology continually redefines the world around us, an "inter-dimensional cross-rip" of sorts is unfolding in Hollywood. As actors unite to strike against the increasing use of digital replicas or 'deepfakes' in films, 'Ghostbusters' star Dan Aykroyd chooses a different path.
Famed for his role as the lovable scientist Ray Stantz in the original 'Ghostbusters' film in 1984, Dan recently voiced his approval for his likeness to be used in future 'Ghostbusters' sequels, even posthumously. This viewpoint contrasts with the prevailing sentiment in Hollywood, where anxiety is mounting over actors being replaced by AI or computer-generated counterparts. This concern has led the Screen Actors Guild to campaign for assurances that such technologies won't be employed without the actors' consent.
Dan, however, seems unfazed by the prospect of a digital afterlife. Speaking to the Daily Mail, the 71-year-old actor stated that his approval hinges on his family being compensated and the narrative of the film being compelling. "As long as my family gets a healthy fee and it’s a good story, I'm fine with that," he remarked, adding, "I'm sure that when I pass beyond the veil they'll come up with a story to incorporate me."
Currently, Dan is filming in the UK for the follow-up to 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife', the fifth instalment in the supernatural franchise. The sequel, tentatively titled 'Firehouse', was expected to premiere on 20 December 2023 but this week it's been announced that the project has been pushed back to 2024.
The 'Ghostbusters' series isn't unfamiliar with posthumous digital resurrections. Harold Ramis, Dan's co-star and the original Egon Spengler, was digitally brought back in the 2021 film 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife', despite having passed away in 2014.
The current film is being shot at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, a stand-in for New York City, the classic setting of the original film. The post-credits sequence of the last film hinted that the franchise would head back to NYC, showing ECTO-1 driving across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
The end of the film also hinted at a potential plot as it welcomed back Ernie Hudson's character, Winston Zeddemore, at the old firehouse. Now a successful businessman, Winston has been looking after the original Ghostbusters base and, crucially, overseeing the ecto containment unit.
The forthcoming plot is rumoured to continue the narrative arc of the Spengler family, introduced in the 2021 film. Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, and Mckenna Grace, who portray Callie and her two children, the grandchildren of original Ghostbuster Egon, will continue to blend the franchise's past with its present.
Dan's perspective on the digital likeness issue provides a refreshing contrast to the prevailing sentiment in Hollywood. As we watch the industry grapple with these technological developments, we can't help but recall the iconic 'Ghostbusters' catchphrase, "Who you gonna call?" In this case, it may just be your agent.
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