YouTube is full of deepfake videos that attempt to improve on polarizing visual effects in movies, but rarely do these videos lead to actual studio jobs. A popular deepfake YouTuber who goes by the name “Shamook” announced this month in the comments section of one of his videos that he joined the team over at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic. IndieWire has now confirmed the hiring with Lucasfilm. The news is notable as one of Shamook’s most viral videos is a deepfake that improves the VFX used in “The Mandalorian” Season 2 finale to de-age Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker. The video has nearly 2 million views on YouTube.
“[Industrial Light and Magic is] always on the lookout for talented artists and have in fact hired the artist that goes by the online persona ‘Shamook,'” a Lucasfilm representative said in a statement. “Over the past several years ILM has been investing in both machine learning and A.I. as a means to produce compelling visual effects work and it’s been terrific to see momentum building in this space as the technology advances.”
“As some of you may already know, I joined ILM/Lucasfilm a few months ago and haven’t had the time to work on any new YouTube content,” Shamook wrote in a comment this month. “Now I’ve settled into my job, uploads should start increasing again. They’ll still be slow, but hopefully not months apart. Enjoy!”
Shamook released his “Mandalorian” Luke Skywalker deepfake video on December 21 after completing work on the clip in just four days. While many “Star Wars” fans were delighted to see a young Luke Skywalker pop up in “The Mandalorian” Season 2 finale, the final VFX-heavy look of the character drew criticisms. De-aging VFX technology continues to polarize, which is one reason George Miller decided to cast Anya Taylor-Joy to play Furiosa in his “Mad Max: Fury Road” prequel movie. The director considered having Charlize Theron reprise the role but decided against it because the de-aging technology is not up to speed yet.
Perhaps the most notable use of de-aging VFX technology came with the release of Martin Scorsese’s 10-time Oscar nominee “The Irishman,” which used VFX to de-age Robert De Niro by decades. The de-aging process divided critics and resulted in another viral video for Shamook. The YouTuber’s video using deepfakes to tweak “The Irishman” VFX has been viewed over 1.2 million times.