John Textor is a media and digital tech wizard most recently known for creating a stunningly realistic posthumous performance of the late Michael Jackson. It took 8 long months of work, but there was no doubt that Jackson’s performance of “Slave to the Rhythm” for the 2014 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas was a magical one. In fact, the performance was so realistic that when personal friends and family members of Jackson witnessed it, many of them were brought to tears. That was the crowing glory for Textor, who knew at that moment that he had made something very special.
Prior to that, Textor spent 6 years leading the Digital Domain Media Group as its Chairman and CEO. Digital Domain Media was responsible for the cutting edge visual effects of a host of big budget blockbuster VFX driven films such as Tron: Legacy, Real Steel, Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End as well as the more realistic epic Flags of our Fathers. In total, Textor helmed the productions of 25 large scale feature films during his tenure as the head of Digital Domain Media and was responsible for bringing the company back to being a dominant industry leader in the VFX market.
During that time, Digital Domain received numerous Academy Awards and Academy Award Nominations, as well as taking home a host of Clio awards for advertising. Perhaps his most notable achievement of all, however, was Digital Domain’s delivery of the very first believable digital human actor. Long considered the “Holy Grail of Animation” this achievement raked in a coveted Oscar for Achievement in Visual Effects at the 2009 Academy Awards, for their work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
The highest accolade of all for this achievement, however, was that the film also received an Oscar for Best Makeup, even though the “actor” in question was actually a stunningly realistic digital effect that delivered a full hour long Oscar worthy performance. It was also this breakthrough in technology that allowed Digital Domain to venture into the arena of “live” posthumous performances by entertainment legends such as Elvis Presley and Tupac Shakur, who was featured in a live performance with Snoop Dogg at 2012’s Coachella Music Festival.
In 2013, Mr. Textor functioned as both a Producer and Executive Producer of the wildly successful end-of-year science fiction/ fantasy blockbuster Ender’s Game. He is currently working on development of a host of entertainment properties in a wide variety of venues and across a broad spectrum of technology platforms, but there is enormous speculation about the future of posthumous performances. A few of the names that have been mentioned for consideration are legends like Bob Marley and Frank Sinatra.