Bruce Willis is the first Hollywood actor to sell the rights to his likeness, which allows a “digital twin” of himself to be used by the U.S. company Deepcake

According to The Telegraph, Willis has offered his likeness to be used onscreen for future projects by using deepfake technology. The actor’s first experience with digital media manipulation was in a Russian phone advertisement for MegaFon last year. The project and commercial were created by Hoody FX, also known as Hoodyakov production.

Recently, the actor went public with his diagnosis of aphasia, which is the loss of ability to understand or express speech that is caused by brain damage. Willis and his family announced in March that Willis would be “stepping away” from acting after his lengthy career that stretches over four decades. 

Bruce Willis sells the rights to his likeness to a deepfake company'Die Hard'Credit: 20th Century Studios

With the deepfake technology, Willis’ likeness can still be used while the actor doesn’t have to set foot on a set. Instead, Willis’ face is now allowed to be “digitally transplanted onto another performer” by Deepcake.

In a statement on Deepcake’s website, Willis said: 

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.

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.

The technology is still in its infancy, but it does promise the return of Willis to the big screen in the near future. Check out how the commercial utilized Willis’ deepfake in this behind-the-scenes video:

Although there have been warnings about the potential use of deepfake technology for nefarious purposes like disinformation, Hollywood has opened up to the possibility that actors could return to the silver screen after they have died or have retired for reasons surrounding health concerns. 

Willis may be the first celebrity willing to have their legacy live on after they’ve physically stepped out of the limelight. 

The company Deepcake offers its services for a portion of the fee necessary to have a star’s likeness be featured in a production. The company believes that deepfakes are a sort of convenience for production teams and stars as it removes the hassle of scheduling conflicts, travel expenses insurance, and more. 

Deepfake technology isn’t something that Hollywood shies away from. Deepfake technology offers several intriguing solutions for filmmaking, like de-aging actors or bringing back a character’s likeness like in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or The Book of Boba Fett.  

Willis’ decision to sell his likeness is a major step toward the future of filmmaking. Although it does put the ethics of deepfake technology into question, I believe that this could be an interesting development for production teams and their relationships with actors. 

It’s all a little hair-raising, so let us know what you think in the comments below!

Source: The Telegraph