The relationship between cinema and technological innovation has always shared an intrinsic bond, though in recent years this technology has seen great strides in innovation. Such includes the CGI reconstruction of Princess Leia’s face in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the de-ageing of Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in The Irishman, and the more recent controversy of using an AI voice to recreate the tones of Anthony Bourdain in the documentary Roadrunner.
Val Kilmer is the latest actor to receive the technological treatment, working with software company Sonantic to create a lifelike audio model of his old speaking voice, which he lost following treatment for throat cancer in 2014. The brand new piece of audio features a lifelike version of Val Kilmer speaking about the “creative soul” trapped in his mind that he previously couldn’t express.
“People around me struggle to understand when I’m talking. But despite all that I still feel I’m the exact same person,” Kilmer’s voice says in the clip. “Still the same creative soul. A soul that dreams ideas and stories confidently, but now I can express myself again, bring these ideas to you, and show you this part of myself once more. A part that was never truly gone. Just hiding away”.
Reporting in a statement, Val Kilmer said, “I’m grateful to the entire team at Sonantic who masterfully restored my voice in a way I’ve never imagined possible…“As human beings, the ability to communicate is the core of our existence and the side effects from throat cancer have made it difficult for others to understand me. The chance to narrate my story, in a voice that feels authentic and familiar, is an incredibly special gift”.
Val, the documentary detailing the life of the actor premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and is now available on Amazon Prime Video.