The Virtual Tom Hanks & the Future of Digital Cinema
This NYTimes article explains a bit on the process.
"For one thing, Mr. Hanks plays five roles, ranging from a 7-year-old boy to Santa Claus. Not all of these characters look like Mr. Hanks, but they all contain the spark of his individuality. "
With Tom Hanks playing 5 roles in The Polar Express (above), the handwriting may be on the wall for how studios cast actors. So, as the technology becomes more and more sophisticated, how will this affect the demand for acting talent and intellectual property rights? The guilds and actors should be very nervous and the entertainment lawyers will have a field day.