Deepfakes make pretty much any casting possible, if you’ve got the time and the right reference material. Should you want to see Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone starring in Step Brothers, the MCU’s Sebastian Stan as Luke Skywalker, or even just a more improved CGI rendering of Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it’s all out there for the making. And the artist behind those last two examples has done it again, this time replacing Tom Hardy with Mel Gibson in Mad Max: Fury Road.
While co-writer/director George Miller had wanted to make a fourth Mad Max film with Mel Gibson, who originated the character of “Mad” Max Rockatansky, a serious of delays and stumbling blocks prevented the reunion from taking place. But in an alternate universe traversed by YouTube user Shamook, that reunion not only happened, but younger Mel Gibson hitched a ride into Mad Max: Fury Road’s 2015 release to make it so. Watch the finished product below:
The results on display above are impressive, to say the least. The only point that the deepfake effect is really in question is both when the split-screen comparison comes up during this Mad Max: Fury Road remix, and in the final sequence where Max fades away into the crowd. But even in the most questionable angles of this fan-crafted work, there’s a lot of fine work on display. In particular, the blending between Mel Gibson’s facial features and Tom Hardy’s remaining features is less noticeable than, say, the seams in the Schwarzenegger/Stallone Step Brothers video.
Although, the ease of slipping Mel Gibson’s face onto Tom Hardy’s body does speak to just how good of a casting Hardy was in the first place. While he doesn’t mimic his predecessor slavishly, you don’t feel weirded out when watching Gibson’s face mapped onto his movements. It’s a creepy but exciting thing to keep in mind when looking at future deepfakes, as well as looking back on those we’ve previously seen.
As we get closer to the production, and eventual release of Furiosa, the prequel movie delving into the life of Charlize Theron’s Mad Max: Fury Road hero, another opportunity for deepfakery is just glaring at us all from the future. While Theron will not play the younger version of Furiosa, as Anya Taylor-Joy has been cast in the role this time out, that must serve as an invitation to all aspiring digital artists. Come to think of it, there’s probably already an artist that’s scouring through footage from Devil’s Advocate and That Thing You Do to create the next deepfake that instills continuity in the wasteland.