Since Daniel Craig made his dramatic exit from the Bond franchise, there has been a lot of debate over who will take up the role of 007. The likes of Henry Cavill, Idris Elba, and Tom Hiddleston have all been mooted as possibilities. Now Turkish photographer Alper Yesilitas has used AI and photo editing tools to imagine how different actors would look if they did land the role.
Alper Yeşiltaş first made a name for himself in 2022 when he published a series of images in which he used AI to imagine how dead famous people would look if they were still alive. Many of the images gained tens of thousands of likes, depicting icons including Princess Diana, Heath Ledger, and hip hop’s Biggie Smalls amongst others.
His new series of potential James Bond candidates includes 11 possibilities, all dressed in suits standing in front of the classic Bond car – an Aston Martin (yes, we're deliberately forgetting the invisible BMW).
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The hyper-realistic images are pretty believable depictions of how each actor could fit the character of the suave secret agent and, honestly, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Yeşiltaş explains that when making the list he started with British actors he has already watched and deemed suitable by fellow fans, but he also wanted to include other actors with "significant talent" such as Regé-Jean Page and Henry Golding.
Yeşiltaş told Digital Camera World, "To be honest, I think that a less predicted (or a never predicted, not even on this list) younger actor will be chosen for the role of James Bond. I have a strong feeling that James Norton or Lucien Laviscount will be the next Bond."
The images have been edited with a moody, dark color grade and locations include the streets of London, the countryside, and what looks like downtown Manhattan. Yeşiltaş admitted each image takes him two hours to complete and the entire series was finished in a couple of days using a combination of AI image generators and traditional photo editing software - including Midjourney, DALL·E, Artbreeder, Faceapp, Gradient, Remini, Photoshop, Lightroom, and VCSO.
Although Yeşiltaş's career was grounded in photography, he believes his transformation to AI is "simply a revolution." He compared AI tools with classical art production tools such as canvas and paintbrushes:
"In the very near future, the imagination of the artist will be more important than how his art is drawn. I am not sure if AI-based photorealistic images will replace photographs in the near future, but I don't think AI-based photography can replace true photography. Artificial intelligence cannot recognize the sensations obtained when shooting a real portrait."
As a diehard Bond fan (pardon the pun) Yeşiltaş is hopeful that whoever takes on the role as the next James Bond will be in it for the long haul. Following Daniel Craig's 15-year stint it's hard to imagine a better Bond; he truly has left a legacy to fill. But who knows, perhaps these AI creations could change or influence people's preferences. Personally, I'm rooting for Idris Elba as he would make a refreshing change from the previous white cast of 007's.
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