After a Deepfake company claimed to have made a deal with the actor to use his likeness in their products, Bruce Willis publicly denied the claims.
The Hollywood legend reportedly agreed to let the company Deepcake use his face in projects using a body double, or “digital twin,” which would allow him to continue to appear, artificially, in movies or advertisements after he decided to retire from acting. This was reported by the Telegraph and the Daily Mail last week.
Even though Willis announced his retirement from acting in March 2020 due to a diagnosis of aphasia, a neuro-cognitive disorder that makes speech and understanding language difficult, he will still star in the upcoming film Detective Knight: Rogue.
Willis praised his character’s accuracy, as reported on Deepcake’s site. It’s an amazing chance for me to experience the past.
According to the neural network’s training data, which included scenes from Die Hard and The Fifth Element, my persona shares visual similarities to those films’ protagonists.
In 2021, the actor’s “digital twin” artificial intelligence Deepfake appeared in a Russian commercial for the telecommunications company Megafon.
When asked for permission, Willis says no.
However, Bruce Willis has recently cast doubt on the validity of Deepcake’s claimed agreement.
According to the BBC, the actor’s representative has stated that there was “no partnership or agreement” between the actor and Deepcake.
The Deepfake company pushed back after the denial.
To create his Digital Twin, “What [Willis] definitely did is that he gave us his consent (and a lot of materials),” a Deepcake representative told the BBC.
That’s the wrong way to put it when talking about rights… Bruce was unable to transfer ownership of his rights to another party, so they now belong to him by default.
The company that claims Bruce Willis’s permission to use his likeness in deepfakes was founded in Delaware by CEO Maria Chmir, who, according to her LinkedIn page, lives in Tbilisi, Georgia.
As of November 2020, Chmir will have been the founder and CEO of a competing Russian artificial intelligence (AI) deepfake startup called Dowell.
Recently, Disney used A.I. to replace James Earl Jones’s retiring voice of Darth Vader in the latest Star Wars spinoff, signaling a rise in the popularity of celebrity Deepfakes and A.I. replacement.