Another day in the laboratory, and all was quiet apart from the scritch-scratch of styluses on graphics tablets. On dozens of screens, glowing in the low light, were the various components of a human body: the dislocated sphere of an eyeball, the strange topography of skin in extreme close-up, a thicket of sprouting hair follicles. At one particular coffee-cup-strewn workstation, an artist studied the essence, the key to the team's efforts—a clip of the '90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
It was 2018, and the crew at the New Zealand-based visual effects studio Weta Digital was hard at work manufacturing Hollywood's hottest new talent, ahead of his big-screen debut a year later. He's a new species of actor, with unswerving focus, superhuman strength, and total commitment to the role. He doesn't take breaks or require the services of hair and makeup. And he doesn't need a trailer, since he lives on a hard drive. They call him Junior or, sometimes, “the asset”: the most ambitious computer-generated human ever made for a movie. He's also the spitting image of a 23-year-old Will Smith.
Read the full article in WIRED.