Rumors surfaced on social media recently that Bruce Willis had sold the rights to his face after his recent retirement. His face was used recently in a Russian telecoms ad by the company Deepcake. The “Die Hard” actor’s reps have come forth to clear things up. Unfortunately, deepfake Willis will not be showing up in movies.
A deep fake is a synthetic replication of a pre-existing person or voice, and the technology has advanced significantly. Often-times used for nefarious purposes or memes, deep fakes are largely on the suspicious side of tech. But Willis has not sold the rights to his face to a Russian company called Deepcake, as rumors have claimed.
In fact, the company reached out to the BBC to deny obtaining the rights to his face, saying “The wording about rights is wrong… Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default.”
Deepcake did state that they had worked closely with the actor and claimed a favorable recommendation from the actor. Willis’ people did not confirm this, though. Regardless, given the uncanny and somewhat wrong-side-of-the-tracks aspect of deep fakes, it’s a bit of a relief to know that we won’t be seeing a digital clone of Bruce anywhere.
AI technologies used to mimic are rapidly on the rise. James Earl Jones just recently retired and sold the rights to Darth Vader’s vocals to a company called Respeecher. But it’s setting a frustrating standard: the elimination of performers. A voice actor could easily be cast to mimic the deep, rich tones of Jones’ Darth Vader. But that job has now been left up to a computer. What that means for both actors and vocal artists future work is worrying.