AI-Generated Jimmy Stewart Voice Narrates Holiday Bedtime Story

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

AI-Generated Jimmy Stewart Voice Narrates Holiday Bedtime Story

By Movieguide® Contributor

The Calm sleep app will feature an AI-generated version of Jimmy Stewart’s voice reading a new holiday bedtime story.

“We are excited for our dad to be the voice of Calm’s latest Sleep Story,” Kelly Stewart Harcourt, one of Stewart’s daughters, 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.”

The voice was created for Calm in partnership with AI voice-cloning startup Respeecher with the family’s consent. To create a narrator sounding like Stewart, a voice actor performed the lines mimicking his speech style, which were then transformed to be indistinguishable from the real Stewart.

“Well, hello. I’m James Stewart. But, well, you can call me Jimmy,” the sleep story begins. “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.”

“It was essential, like in all other projects, that the project was done according to high ethical standards and respect, which Respeecher has advocated for many years,” said Respeecher co-founder and CEO Alex Serdiuk.

“James Stewart was one of the most remarkable actors in U.S. history. Recreating his voice with AI was both a huge responsibility and an honor for Respeecher,” Serduik continued. “It was a way to pay tribute to his incredible career and all the good memories he left to people.”

Respeecher “was able to re-create Stewart’s Western Pennsylvania phrasing by combining recordings from a voice actor with old clips of the REAR WINDOW star, making sure ‘all the important tiny inflections’ were ‘preserved,'” per Huff Post.

“It’s a Wonderful Sleep Story” is one of many tales on the Calm app. The app has partnered with numerous celebrities in the past, including Matthew McConaughey, Cillian Murphey, LeBron James, Jennifer Garner and Michale Bublé.

Stewart’s sleep story is now available to Calm premium subscribers.

Movieguide® previously reported on Stewart:

In a December 1987 article, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE star Jimmy Stewart reflected on the story behind this Christmas classic and why viewers continue to love it.

After serving in the Air Force during World War II, Stewart found himself back in California, unsure how to break back into the movie industry.

“I had been away from the film business, my MGM contract had run out and, frankly, not knowing how to get started again, I was just a little bit scared,” he wrote.

“Then one day Frank Capra phoned me. The great director had also been away in service, making the WHY WE FIGHT documentary series for the military, and he admitted to being a little frightened too. But he had a movie in mind.”

During their meeting, Capra pitched IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE to Stewart, and although he wasn’t sure if the story would make a good movie, the actor jumped at the chance.

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