The mighty Val Kilmer is one of our great actors. Sadly, a battle with throat cancer meant that he lost his voice after surgery in 2015. Kilmer has continued to work, using other actors to do his voice work (see Paydirt and The Super) – even having his son Jack Kilmer provide the narration for the recent biographical documentary, Val. However after several years, Val Kilmer is now finally able to reclaim his voice.
The company Sonantic has created a digital copy of Kilmer’s voice which will allow him to say new words and deliver new lines. Scripts can now be fed into software which will then deliver the actor’s lines – using a digitally constructed replica of his voice.
Licensing restraints meant that Sonantic had to re-create Kilmer’s voice with less than 30 minutes of audio. This was then cleaned with all background noise removed. A script connected the audio chunks together and this was put through voice engine algorithms which used AI to learn how to speak using Kilmer’s voice. More than 40 different voice models were created and the highest quality and most expressive one was selected.
A desktop application means that they can input text and then fine-tune Kilmer’s vocal performance, adjusting a range of parameters. This means filmmakers can modify the pitch and pacing of phrases to help give the right delivery for a given performance. The voice will be able to match the onscreen performance.
This is miraculous. They’ve been able to give a great actor back one of his most important tools, allowing Val Kilmer to once reclaim the screen and continue to deliver great performances.
Hear Val Kilmer’s new digital voice below and visit Sonantic to learn how they worked their magic.