Hollywood legend actor Jimmy Stewart, who was known for his distinctive drawl, can now put people to sleep thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Stewart, thanks to AI voice cloning technology, has come back to life for a new “sleep story” from the subscription-based wellness app Calm, according to a report by The Messenger.
Stewart, who in 1997, is the latest celebrity narrator to be featured on Calm, joining fellow celebrities such as pop star Harry Styles, actor Regé-Jean Page, singer Pink, and actress Laura Dern.
The app reportedly used AI voice cloning technology known as Respeecher in order to get the late actor to join the app as a narrator. Stewart’s voice creation is used to tell one of Calm’s “Sleep Stories,” and was created with the approval of the It’s a Wonderful Life star’s estate.
On the app, a clone of Stewart’s voice can be heard narrating a 45-minute sleep session, titled, “It’s a Wonderful Sleep Story.”
Reporters with The Messenger, which listened to 34 seconds of the “sleep story,” attested that Respeecher did an excellent job recreating Stewart’s voice.
“We are excited for our Dad to be the voice of Calm’s latest Sleep Story,” Kelly Stewart Harcourt said in a press release. “It’s amazing what technology can do and wonderful to see Dad’s legacy live on this holiday season in new ways, like helping people find restful sleep and sweet dreams.”
It remains unclear what Stewart himself would have thought about this AI technology, as the actor was known to be wary of technologies that were less advanced. In 1988, Stewart spoke before Congress to discourage the practice of colorizing older black-and-white films.
Notably, Calm’s sleep story featuring an AI-generated voice of Stewart comes after the release of “Now and Then,” a final Beatles track that mixes a new recording from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with tapes of John Lennon and George Harrison with the help of AI.
While this was also created with the approval of Lennon and Harrison’s estates, it was known that Harrison did not want to record “Now and Then,” as he had declined a mid-1990s session when the then-three surviving Beatles worked on two other songs, “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love.”