Late Night With The Devil: David Dastmalchian and directors confirm AI used in film

The directors of Late Night With the Devil confirmed there is AI-generated art in the film, but that its use is limited.

Australian directors Colin and Cameron Cairnes are in hot water this week after keen-eyed viewers spotted some apparent AI-generated images in their acclaimed horror film Late Night With The Devil.

In an exclusive statement to Variety, the Cairnes brothers confirmed the use of AI, but clarified that the images in contention were refined by their dedicated graphics design team. The full statement reads:

In conjunction with our amazing graphics and production design team, all of whom worked tirelessly to give this film the 70s aesthetic we had always imagined, we experimented with AI for three still images which we edited further and ultimately appear as very brief interstitials in the film. We feel incredibly fortunate to have had such a talented and passionate cast, crew and producing team go above and beyond to help bring this film to life. We can’t wait for everyone to see it for themselves this weekend.

The initial discussion stemmed from a 19 March Letterboxd review by user based gizmo, and soon after, other reviewers on X/Twitter, such as user @jeremylovesyall, screen-capped the image in contention and suggested movie-goers should ‘boycott’ the film over its AI use. The message quickly garnered traction and led to outcries in a similar vein, leaving potential viewers with a pressing question: should you boycott a film entirely over its limited use of AI?

The AI generated image in Late Night With The Devil. Image: Shudder/Umbrella Entertainment/Maslow Entertainment

Late Night With The Devil is an ode to the talk shows of the 70s, where an attempt to capture a live Satanic possession goes horribly wrong.

The film’s star, David Dastmalchian, also confirmed the use of AI in the film. Journalist Kevin McCarthy released a clip on X (Twitter) of his recent Zoom interview with Dastmalchian, in which the actor also confirms that AI was used to generate the images.

Read: Late Night With The Devil: trailer and poster revealed for acclaimed Australian horror

‘The only thing that makes me sad is that we had an awesome graphics design team, and all the artists who were working on making this film so perfect,’ Dastmalchian says in the clip. ‘It makes me sad that it’s a story that’s getting attention, but I get it.’

‘I totally stand by the bros,’ he continues, referring to directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes. ‘I was there with them a couple of years ago when this [AI] was brand new stuff – “Oh look, this cool thing generated an image!”‘

The integration of AI in entertainment has been a contentious issue since the Hollywood strikes of the previous year. The recent WGA contract prohibits AI-generated material from undermining writers’ credits or separated rights, while the SAG deal mandates consent and compensation guidelines for replicating actors’ likenesses. The brief use of AI-generated images in Late Night With The Devil does not break any of these rules.

Late Night With the Devil is in cinemas from 11 April.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports