Update as of October 1, 2022:
As reported by Yahoo Entertainment, Bruce Willis has not entered into any agreement with Deepcake beyond the commercial described below. A person representing Willis, as well as Deepcake, confirmed that no further collaboration is currently planned and that Willis’s rights to his image are his alone.
Original article dated September 30, 2022:
Bruce Willis sells his face to an video AI company
Bruce Willis has ended his acting career for health reasons.
Nevertheless, we might see the well-known actor in big productions again in the future.
Bruce Willis already has experience with AI-generated synthetic videos (often called deepfakes): With Willis’ permission, Russian mobile operator MegaFon gave an actor on the spot the famous actor’s face for a commercial.
For Willis, it was a nice perk, reportedly $2 million, without having to show up on set in Moscow in the summer of 2021.
And it was also a trip down memory lane: his AI clone was created using original footage of John McClane from the “Die Hard” movies of the 1980s and 1990s. Accordingly, a young Bruce Willis starred in the commercial.
Digital Willis continues acting
Probably against the background of this diagnosis, Willis has now sold the rights to his acting second self to the US company “Deepcake”.
The company specializes in realistic digital clones and was already involved in the above-mentioned commercial. The collaboration has satisfied the actor,
and now Digital-Willis may appear in further productions.
“I liked the precision with which my character developed. […] For me, it’s a great opportunity to return to the past.[…] Thanks to modern technology, even when I was on another continent, I could communicate, work and participate in the shooting,” Willis said about the commercial.
The video below shows Willis’ digital face in action in a few scenes. As usual with Deepfakes, it helps if the actor on location already has a resemblance to the face of the person to be inserted into the video.
More common than borrowed faces are already borrowed voices, as in Top Gun, because actor Val Kilmer could no longer voice “Iceman” himself after suffering from throat cancer. In the documentary “Roadrunner” about Anthony Bourdain, who died in 2018, a synthetic voice of Bourdain speaks a few sentences. Darth Vader voice James Earl Jones gave the Ukrainian company Respeech permission to clone his voice via AI and use it in the Disney series “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” AI voices are also used in video game productions and mods.