An AI Robot Has Been Cast as the Lead in a New Sci-Fi Movie

Erica the robot could be Hollywood's next A-list movie star

erica the robot
Erica the robot is ready for her close up.
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

First robots came for your job, now they’re taking over Hollywood.

An AI robot named Erica has landed the lead role in the upcoming sci-fi film, b, according to the Hollywood Reporter. While, as Dazed noted, fellow AI actor Sophia the robot did enjoy a short spot on Westworld back in 2019, Erica will reportedly be the first robot actor to lead a film.

Japanese scientists Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawa created Erica, teaching her to act by “applying the principles of method acting to artificial intelligence,” according to producer Sam Khoze.

“In other methods of acting, actors involve their own life experiences in the role,” Khoze told THR. “But Erica has no life experiences. She was created from scratch to play the role. We had to simulate her motions and emotions through one-on-one sessions, such as controlling the speed of her movements, talking through her feelings and coaching character development and body language.”

While casting an AI lead may seem like indie film material, is far from a small-scale production. The $70 million sci-fi film has been backed by Bondit Capital Media — which financed titles like To the Bone and the Oscar nominated Loving Vincent — Belgium-based Happy Moon Productions and New York’s Ten Ten Global Media.

And while Erica may be the first robot movie star, more aspiring robot actors may soon follow in her footsteps as Hollywood pursues new safety measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. While Hollywood has already begun toying with the idea of replacing background actors with AI extras, a coronavirus-proof star may mark a new trend in post-pandemic production.

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