Bruce Willis may have retired from acting, but he will live on in future movies thanks to deepfake technology. According to The Telegraphthe actor has sold his rights to future films and ad campaigns to deep cakea company that creates “digital twins” of famous people for use in commercial projects.
It’s the same type of technology used in the Star Wars franchise to recreate younger versions of actors, including Mark Hamill, and to create digital versions of Carrie Fisher after her death. Just last week, James Earl Jones approved the recreation of his voice by AI in future projects as he contemplates his retirement.
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In March, Willis, 67, was diagnosed with aphasia, a language disorder resulting from brain damage that affects the understanding of written and spoken language and communication. By then, reports of his struggle to remember lines and signs it had been circulating within the industry for some time.
Engadget reports that Willis worked with Deepcake on a 2021 ad for Russian telecommunications company Megafon, in which his face was changed to that of actor Konstantin Solovyov. The engineers used scenes from The hard other Fifth Element to create an image of Willis that lives on the company’s AI platform. The Willis estate will have final approval of any future projects.
Deepfakes are a new and unregulated area of technology that scammers are already using in nefarious ways to spread misinformation. They have also been used to produce pornography without the consent of the subject and generally present a large number of ethical and safety implications for celebrities and regular people alike.