Rights sold to tech company: Will Bruce Willis soon be seen as deepfake?

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Rights sold to technology company
Bruce Willis soon to be seen as a deepfake?

A few months ago, Bruce Willis announced the end of his career due to illness. But the Hollywood star could still appear in movies in the future. Because his digital rights are now in the hands of a Russian technology company specializing in deepfake.

At the beginning of this year, it was announced that American actor Bruce Willis had to give up his long acting career for health reasons. The star of cult films such as “Die Hard” (1988), “Pulp Fiction” (1994) or “The Fifth Element” (1997) suffers from aphasia, a language disorder that affects one’s ability to communicate.

In the short documentary “Tech to the Future” (2022), it has now been revealed that Willis is the first Hollywood star ever to have sold his digital rights to Russian tech company Deepcake. The actor can therefore still be seen in films in the future – albeit only as a digital copy of himself made by deepfake, “Metro” reports.

Willis’ digital twins were featured in a commercial by the Russian mobile phone company Megafon last year. With the help of artificial intelligence, the company Deepcake placed the image of the 67-year-old on the body of actor Konstantin Solovyov (a so-called face-swapping).

“Star Wars” has also been using Deeotake technology for a long time

Willis himself said in a statement on the company’s website that the project was “a great way for him to go back in time”. The neural network of the deepfake technology used was fed with data from his films “Die Hard” and “The Fifth Element”. Therefore, according to Willis, his character is comparable to “the photos of that time”.

According to the Daily Mail, Deepcake engineers only need three to five days to insert the digitally generated Bruce Willis into projects. Despite the sale of his image and audio rights to Deepcake, the star and his family will have to give the green light to future film projects before the digital doppelganger can appear in them.

It is conceivable that already deceased stars from the past will come back into the picture via deepfake. In recent years, however, the technology has been used in major Hollywood productions, primarily to rejuvenate actors. For example, “Star Wars” legend Mark Hamill appeared as young Luke Skywalker in the series “The Mandalorian” (since 2019) and “The Book of Boba Fett” (2021-2022). Again, Hamill’s face was deepfaked onto another actor’s body.

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