The legendary former It’s A Wonderful Life star Jimmy Stewart, who has been dead since 1997, has been brought back to life through artificial intelligence (AI) to narrate a bedtime story for Calm App. Variety reported that Stewart is narrating “It’s a Wonderful Sleep Story,” which Calm describes as “a heartwarming new holiday tale.” Stewart’s family and estate that is managed by CMG Worldwide gave consent for him to be used in the app.
“Well, hello. I’m James Stewart. But, well, you can call me Jimmy,” the AI-generated voice of Stewart can be heard saying at the beginning of the story. “Tonight, I’m going to tell you a story. It’s a heartwarming story of love, of loss, of hope and of joy. But most of all, it’s a wonderful sleep story.” Kelly Stewart Harcourt, one of Stewart’s daughters, released a statement in support of the app.
“We are excited for our dad to be the voice of Calm’s latest Sleep Story,” she said. “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.”
“Jimmy Stewart’s calming voice is one of the most iconic in movie history, and we’re thrilled to see it brought to the leading relaxation app on the market,” added Tina Xavie, chief marketing officer of CMG Worldwide. “Thanks to advanced technology, we all get the joy of hearing Jimmy’s unique voice again.”
To recreate Stewart’s voice, Calm teamed up with the AI voice-cloning startup Respeecher, which also recreated the voice of Mark Hamill’s voice of Luke Skywalker for “The Mandalorian” and James Earl Jones’ voice of Darth Vader for “Obi-Wan Kenobi” on Disney+. To recreate Stewart’s voice, Respeecher brought in a male voice actor to say the lines and mimic the way the former Rear Window star spoke.
The New York Times reported that Stewart died at the age of 89 from a blood clot in his lung back in 1997.
”America lost a national treasure today,” then-President Bill Clinton said at the time. ”Jimmy Stewart was a great actor, a gentleman and a patriot.”
Many are uncomfortable with just how far AI has come in recent years, with some saying that there are scary aspects to its potential. What do you think about AI being used to allow Stewart to narrate a new app 26 years after his death? Let us know in the comments section.