AI-Generated Stills From a Movie That Doesn’t Exist: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1976 Version of ‘Tron’

The New York Times has a jaw-dropping feature from Frank Pavich and Johnny Darrell:

I was recently shown some frames from a film that I had never heard of: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1976 version of Tron. The sets were incredible. The actors, unfamiliar to me, looked fantastic in their roles. The costumes and lighting worked together perfectly. The images glowed with an extravagant and psychedelic sensibility that felt distinctly Jodorowskian.

However, Mr. Jodorowsky, the visionary Chilean filmmaker, never tried to make Tron. I’m not even sure he knows what “Tron” is. And Disney’s original Tron was released in 1982. So what 1970s film were these gorgeous stills from? Who were these neon-suited actors? And how did I — the director of the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, having spent two and a half years interviewing and working with Alejandro to tell the story of his famously unfinished film — not know about this?

The truth is that these weren’t stills from a long-lost movie. They weren’t photos at all. These evocative, well-composed and tonally immaculate images were generated in seconds with the magic of artificial intelligence.

It’s staggering how beautiful these stills are, and so evocative of what this imaginary film should look and feel like. You can practically hear them, they’re so sensual. The animation of stills atop the feature even feels like a trailer for the movie. Look at this on the biggest display you can.

The downside to this is that it has created in me a strong desire to see a movie that can never exist.

Friday, 13 January 2023