Call it the Invasion of the Holohamm. 'Mad Men' star Jon Hamm will become the first actor to be turned into a lifelike 3D hologram for virtual and augmented reality at the Sundance Film Festival.
Jon Hamm, who plays a hologram named Walter Prime in the Sundance movie Marjorie Prime, is getting the anthropomorphizing treatment from 8i, a New Zealand- and Los Angeles-based tech company and hologram pioneer. The Hamm hologram will make its first appearance at the Passage Pictures film's premiere afterparty on Jan. 23.
The photo-realistic rendition, which was created by 8i and directed by Rogue Rubin, offers volume and depth, making it look and feel as if talking with the actor. To make matters more confusing, Hamm will be on hand at the party, creating a futuristic conundrum for the age-old set-up: Which one is real, and which one is the imposter?
Revelers will be able to interact with the Hamm hologram in a volumetric VR experience and in mixed reality on a mobile device.
The high-tech creation marks a natural extension for the Michael Almeryeda-helmed film, which centers on 86-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith), who spends her final ailing days with a computerized version of her deceased husband (Hamm).
"It is amazing to experience the future in the here and now," said Marjorie Prime producer Uri Singer. "When we first started working on the movie, the script dictated that the holograms would be portrayed as a futuristic reality. Making an actual hologram, not only on film but one that can be experienced with VR/AR, attests to how present the future has become."
The unveiling arrives at a time when Sundance is flexing its VR and AR muscles. This year's festival lineup features such projects as Zero Days VR, which takes participants inside the U.S./Israel-hatched Stuxnet virus as it sabotages an underground Iranian nuclear facility, and the evolution depiction Life of Us from artists Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin, with music from Pharrell Williams and collaborators Megan Ellison, McKenzie Stubbert and Jona Dinges.
Marjorie Prime and its spinoff Hamm creation echo the philosophical issues being raised as the reality of artificial intelligence looms. It also begs the question that will surely be asked by all the single women in Park City: Will the Holohamm be making the rounds?