At the beginning of the year it became known that Hollywood star Bruce Willis (67) 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 impairs a person's ability to communicate. In the documentary short "Tech to the Future" (2022) it has now been revealed that Willis became the first Hollywood star ever to sell his digital rights to the Russian tech company Deepcake. The actor can therefore still appear in films in the future - albeit only as a digital copy of himself created by deepfake. This is reported by "Metro".
Willis' digital twin was featured in a commercial by the Russian mobile phone company Megafon last year. With the help of artificial intelligence, the company Deepcake put the likeness of the Hollywood star on the body of actor Konstantin Solovyov (a so-called face swapping). Willis himself said in a statement on the company's website that the project represented "a great way 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 similar to "the pictures of the time".
According to the Daily Mail, Deepcake technicians 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 their go-ahead to future film projects before the digital double can appear in them.
It is conceivable that stars of the past who have already died will return to the screen 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 (71) appeared as a 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.