An unusual story if ever there was one, Hollywood superstar Bruce Willis (Die Hard, The Fifth Element) has sold his likeness to a deepfake company. Or not. It seems that this story has come out of nowhere, and no one knows exactly where the truth lies.
Last week, a report emerged that Bruce Willis had sold the rights to his face to Deepcake, a company specialising in digital recreations using deepfake technology. The company intended to create a ‘digital twin’ of Willis, allowing Deepcake to paste his likeness onto another image so that it appears as though the actor is moving or speaking despite never having done so in any given situation.
The technology could be used, for example, to give the actor screen roles which he had never previously appeared in. Given that Willis had announced his retirement from acting back in March 2022, this would allow studios to cast him without him ever appearing on set!
Bruce Willis Sells to Deepcake
In a statement on the company’s website, Willis revealed that a deepfake of himself has already been used on a project.
“I liked the precision with which my character turned out. It’s a mini-movie in my usual action-comedy genre. For me, it is a great opportunity to go back in time,” Willis stated. “With the advent of modern technology, even when I was on another continent, I was able to communicate, work and participate in the filming. It’s a very new and interesting experience, and I thank our entire team.”
Bruce Willis Didn’t Sell to Deepcake
However, in a twist to the tale, Willis has now denied selling the rights altogether. Apparently, while a digital twin of Willis was created by Deepcake, the company does not own the rights to Willis’ image. The digital twin will be used in an advertisement for the Russian telecoms company MegaFon.
“Our engineers processed a dataset composed of 34,000 images of Bruce Willis and made his ‘digital twin’ for the series of MegaFon ads,” a Deepcake spokesperson told Variety. “Bruce Willis, whose bilateral contractual agreements with MegaFon remain unknown to Deepcake, appreciated our service and described it as ‘a very new and interesting experience’ in the official MegaFon press release.”
So, that’s the end of this story. At least for now, anyway! What do you think about the situation? About actors selling their likeness for future appearances in movies, television et al? Let us know in the comments below!