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‘Everything Everywhere’ Oscar-Winning Co-Director Daniel Kwan Says He’s ‘Really Terrified’ of AI

Feeling freaked out about artificial intelligence? You’ve got good company, in the form of Oscar-winning filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

During a wide-ranging talk held at SXSW today (via Deadline), the pair (best known to fans and friends as The Daniels) returned to the festival that first debuted their Best Picture winner “Everything Everywhere All at Once” to chat about a variety of subjects, including the potential future of Hollywood and beyond.

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Per Deadline, the conversation “culminated” in Kwan telling the crowd how he’s really feeling about AI. In a word, terrified. “It’s magic, it’s going to solve cancer and bring solutions, it’s a powerful thing, but I’m really terrified of this new story,” Deadline reported Kwan as saying. The outlet added that, “Kwan described a situation whereby many are ‘chasing’ AI to stay ahead of it, ‘because you know you’re next.'”

The filmmaker added, “We’re not saying don’t use AI — I don’t believe in dogmas. … AI is here and will be rapidly deployed in every aspect of our lives.”

In recent months, the chatter about an AI-inflected Hollywood has ramped way, way up. Some filmmakers worry that OpenAI’s Sora tool might spell the end of human-made creativity (Tyler Perry was worried enough about its implementation that the filmmaker and super-producer said he put his studio expansion plans on hold), while other talents aren’t that concerned (just this month: Dakota Johnson shrugged off its appeal, while Zack Snyder said he wasn’t “that worried” about the potential of AI-made films).

Scheinert added his own thoughts on AI, telling the crowd assembled for their afternoon keynote speech “Daniels: How We Pulled Off Everything Everywhere All at Once” at the Austin Convention Center, “When you use it, try to think about why you’re using it. Do you want to increase value in your life or make money for the billionaires? … If someone says there’s no side effects and it’s great, that’s terrifying bullshit. We have to think about how to carefully deploy this stuff.”

Despite the massive scale of the pair’s Oscar juggernaut and smash hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” individual craft and a handmade feel were essential to building the multiverse-spanning family-centric feature. As the film’s visual effects team told IndieWire during a 2022 interview, to keep the process as personal and handmade as possible, effects supervisor Zack Stoltz assembled a small team comprised of visual effects artists who were also directors, who’d learned effects as a necessity while working on their own projects. And that gave the Daniels the best of both worlds, as Stoltz and his team understood the filmmakers’ needs but also had the creativity and autonomy to add unique touches to the imagery.

The pair’s next film, a top-secret “event film” from Universal Pictures, will arrive in theaters on July 12, 2026.

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