In late March “Die Hard” actor Bruce Willis retired due to cognitive issues caused by his Aphasia. But that doesn’t mean we will stop seeing him on screen. Willis has become the first celebrity to sell his image rights to a deepfake firm.
Deepfakes use digital technology to create the image of a famous person while placing it on a stand-in performer. These videos can make the person they are imitating say and do almost anything. While using them to make unnerving and ridiculous videos of celebrities is a fairly new use, Hollywood has been using deepfake technology for years. It’s mostly used to de-age important characters or to show how a classic character might look if their original performer still played them. The most notable recent examples of this are in the “Star Wars” universe since it was done with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and Disney+’s “The Mandalorian.”
Many find this technology creepy and potentially damaging to their careers since you can make people do damn near anything. But Willis sees the deepfakes as “a great opportunity to go back in time.” So he made history by selling his right to the US firm Deepcake. Last year the actor used deepfake technology to make an ad for the Russian phone service, MegaFon. “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 said about the ad.
He continued “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.” Please note that Aphasia is a language disorder that causes issues with reading, listening, and speaking. Hence why Willis felt he needed to step away from his over 4 decade-long career.
We hope this new technology allows him to still express himself and communicate how he sees fit. Watch below how they were able to make the video with Willis’ participation.