Bruce Willis may have retired from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, but a version of him will live on in future projects. Last year, the actor’s “digital twin” appeared in an ad for a Russian telecom created by a company called Deepcake. It is now reported that he has sold his rights to Deepcake for future film, commercial and other projects, according to the company’s website The Telegraph.
Engineers created the digital double drawing from content Die Hard and fifth element, when Willis was 32 and 42 years old respectively. Since its likeness is now on the company’s AI platform, it can transfer its likeness to another actor’s face in a relatively short amount of time. However, Willis’ estate has final approval for all projects.
In the Megafon ad, Willis’ face was swapped for actor Konstantin Solovyov. “I liked the precision of my character. It’s a great opportunity for me to go back in time,” Willis said in a statement to Deepcake. “With the advent of modern technology, I have been able to communicate, work and film, even on a different continent. It’s a brand new and interesting experience for me and I’m grateful to our team.”
In March, Willis’ family announced that he was retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, which impairs communication and understanding. In recent years, the 67-year-old has appeared in a number of projects while worrying about his cognitive condition.
Actors have appeared as digital versions of themselves, most notably in Boba Fett’s book with a young Mark Hamill. Digital versions by Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing also appeared in Star Wars: Rogue One, although both are deceased. James Earl Jones recently sold Disney the rights to use AI to replicate his voice so he can retire.
The practice has sparked controversy. The quality of deepfakes varies widely, but many approach the “uncanny valley” where characters don’t look quite right due to stiff movements, dead eyes, and other issues. There is also the question of rights, since deceased actors cannot refuse posthumous film roles, even if the family or estate agrees.
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https://www.engadget.com/bruce-willis-deepfake-celebrity-rights-192200856.html?src=rss A Bruce Willis deepfake will appear in his stead for future film projects