Hollywood Actor Tye Sheridan, a native of Elkhart, is now in the news for a different reason, announcing the startup of a new media-tech company, Wonder Dynamics.
Sheridan co-founded the company with visual-effect artist Nikola Todorovic. The duo first met on the set of Rodrigo Garcia’s 2015 drama “Last Days in the Desert,” in which Sheridan starred opposite Ewan McGregor. Todorovic was a VFX consultant on the production.
Sheridan and Todorovic started Wonder Dynamics, formerly called Aether Inc., in 2017 and the past four years the two have been experimenting with using artificial intelligence and machine learning to create interactive video applications. They are gearing up to introduce a new AI production tool they feel will allow independent artists to produce stunning VFX and CGI animations for far less than the current cost, allowing indie filmmakers to deliver blockbuster-level VFX on a fraction of the budget.
In an interview with Variety Magazine, Sheridan said, “It breaks down the barriers to achieving your wildest vision. A lot of times people dream up this story but it’s not possible to make because it would cost $200 million. AI can democratize VFX.”
Wonder Dynamics has an advisory board of Hollywood hierarchy and tech mavens, that includes Steven Spielberg; director/producer Joe Russo; Rhea Films’ Terry Dougas; Gregory Trattner, president of Film Finances; Joshua Baer, founder/CEO of Capital Factory; Angjoo Kanazawa, assistant professor at UC Berkeley and Google research scientist; MIT Professor. Antonio Torralba, head of AI and decision making; and private-equity investor Robert Schwab.
Russo, whose credits include directing “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” told Variety the potential for using AI in filmmaking is today largely untapped.
“We are often reminded of all of the ways that AI and similar tech advancements will profoundly impact our lives, but I think we haven’t yet scratched the surface of its potential impact on the media industry,” Russo said. “Wonder Dynamics is one of the early startups exploring this intersection, and I look forward to being part of this exciting journey with them.”
Wonder Dynamics has two products: Wallace Interactive, a patented technology that lets viewers engage in AI-powered conversations with characters in a TV show or a movie; and Wallace Production, which the founders say will expedite and reduce the cost of creating visual effects. Wallace is a reference to breaking down the fourth wall with an audience.
Sheridan and Todorovic expect to begin demoing the software in early 2021.
“Visual AI is going to be one of the biggest revolutions in the industry,” Todorovic told Variety. “It’s going to let indie filmmakers or kids anywhere in the world realize their movies.”
Sheridan, the son of Stephanie and Bryan Sheridan of Elkhart, has become one of the industry's most-in-demand actors.
Sheridan made his film debut at 11 years old in Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life,” opposite Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain.
In 2016, Sheridan was featured in the major blockbuster "X-Men: Apocalypse," as a young Scott Summers, aka Cyclops. In 2018, Tye earned his first big screen feature role in Spielberg's dystopian sci-fi film, "Ready Player One." He made a cameo as X-Men's Cyclops in "Deadpool 2" later that year. He reprised his role as Scott Summers/Cyclops in the latest installment of the X-Men franchise, “X-Men: Dark Phoenix.”
Other credits include films “The Night Clerk,” “The Yellow Birds,” “Entertainment,” “Detour,” “Age Out,” “Dark Places,” “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” “The Mountain” and “Mud” opposite Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon.
Earlier this year, Sheridan was on the big screen with Helen Hunt in "The Night Clerk."
In 2021, Sheridan will return to the screen in the sci-fi thriller "Voyagers," with Colin Farrell and Lily-Rose Depp, as a member of a space mission. Still in pre-production, "The Card Counter," another of
Sheridan's upcoming films, featuring Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish, will also be released in 2021.
He is also set to be featured in the star-studded ensemble cast in the upcoming Vietnam movie of Tim O’Brien’s book "The Things They Carried." Tom Hardy is cast to portray the main character, a fictionalized version of O’Brien who serves as the narrator of the stories, in the film. Sheridan joins Stephen James, Bill Skarsgard, Pete Davidson, Martin Sensmeier, Moises Arias, Angus Cloud and Ashton Sanders play the men of Alpha Company who will take turns in the spotlight of each story.