Brett Leonard: From "The Lawnmower Man" to the Metaverse Visionary

In a recent podcast, the legendary Brett Leonard, best known for his groundbreaking film "The Lawnmower Man," delved deep into the world of virtual reality, the metaverse, and the future of storytelling. Here's a recap of the enlightening conversation.

The Lawnmower Man's Legacy

Brett Leonard's "The Lawnmower Man" was more than just a film; it was a prophecy. Released in 1992, the movie introduced many to the concept of virtual reality (VR) and its potential impact on society. Fast forward to today, and Leonard's vision seems eerily prescient. The film's influence on the VR industry and its enthusiasts is undeniable.

Embracing the Metaverse

Leonard's passion for VR hasn't waned. He's excited about the potential of the metaverse, a term popularized by Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash." For Leonard, the metaverse isn't just a digital playground; it's a new medium for human connection, transcending geography and physical limitations.

He's actively involved in projects like Ubiquity VX and Ethereal Engine, platforms that aim to redefine how we experience and distribute virtual content. With Ethereal Engine, for instance, users can share virtual experiences through a simple link, making VR more accessible than ever.

Hollywood and AI: A Love-Hate Relationship

Leonard also touched upon the contentious relationship between Hollywood and artificial intelligence (AI). While many in the industry fear AI's potential to replace human creativity, Leonard sees it differently. He believes that AI can be a tool, a "superpower" that filmmakers can harness to tell richer, more immersive stories.

He recalled a panel discussion where he was the lone voice championing AI's potential in filmmaking. For Leonard, resisting AI is akin to the early film industry's reluctance to embrace sound. It's not about replacing human creativity but augmenting it.

Virtual Psychedelics: The Next Frontier

One of the most intriguing parts of the conversation revolved around "virtual psychedelics." Leonard is involved in a project that aims to replicate psychedelic experiences using VR. While the company isn't dabbling in actual psychedelic substances, they're collaborating with clinicians who are. The goal? To enhance the therapeutic potential of psychedelics using VR, creating a synergistic effect that benefits patients.

A Call to Action

Leonard's message to listeners was clear: now is the time to lean into VR and the metaverse. We're at a pivotal moment in history, and those who embrace these technologies can shape the future. Whether you're a creator, a developer, or just a curious enthusiast, there's a role for you in this brave new world.

In Conclusion

Brett Leonard's insights offer a glimpse into the future of storytelling, where VR, AI, and human creativity converge. As the lines between reality and virtuality blur, one thing is certain: the best is yet to come.

Watch or listen to the full episode here:
The Lawnmower Man Writer & Director Dives into VR's Potential: A Brett Leonard Exclusive | S07E016