Keanu Reeves Calls Deepfakes 'Scary,' Says He Won't Let His Performances Be Digitally Altered
Keanu Reeves recently opened up about his distrust of artificial intelligence, comparing the innovative technology to the sinister simulated reality of The Matrix. In a recent interview with Wired, ahead of the release of John Wick 4, the actor touched on his hesitation around the artificial intelligence space and, talking about the impact of things like ChatGPT, opened up on his position on the rise in deepfake technology.
The Matrix and John Wick actor even confirmed that he has a clause in every one of his movie contracts that prevent studios from digitally manipulating his performances, per Variety. “Yeah, digitally. I don’t mind if someone takes a blink out during an edit,” Reeves said. “But early on, in the early 2000s, or it might have been the ’90s, I had a performance changed. They added a tear to my face, and I was just like, ‘Huh?!’ It was like, I don’t even have to be here.”
“What’s frustrating about that is you lose your agency,” Reeves continued about deepfakes. “When you give a performance in a film, you know you’re going to be edited, but you’re participating in that. If you go into deepfake land, it has none of your points of view. That’s scary. It’s going to be interesting to see how humans deal with these technologies. They’re having such cultural, and sociological impacts and the species is being studied. There’s so much ‘data’ on behaviors now.”
"I was trying to explain the plot of The Matrix to this 15-year-old once, and that the character I played was really fighting for what was real," he said. "And this young person was just like, 'Who cares if it's real?' People are growing up with these tools: We're listening to music already that's made by AI in the style of Nirvana, [and] there's NFT digital art." He continued, speaking about a larger systemic concern: "It's cool, like, 'Look what the cute machines can make!' But there's a corporatocracy behind it that's looking to control those things. Culturally, socially, we're gonna be confronted by the value of real, or the nonvalue. And then what's going to be pushed on us? What's going to be presented to us?"
The Point Break actor also commented on the importance of still seeing films in cinemas. “It’s dreams, right? And immersion. I think the power of cinema – part of it is its novelty, but also its scale. You see a close-up of a wonderful performance with emotions and storytelling that touch you. Whether it’s horror or action or comedy, you’re seeing a face that’s, you know, 20 feet tall. Yeah. You’re, like, there. The intimacy of that.”
Keanu Reeves is out promoting his next upcoming film, John Wick: Chapter 4. The movie is the longest in the John Wick series to date, clocking in at 2 hours and 49 minutes. John Wick 4 is due out in theaters on March 24.