Bruce Willis didn’t really sell his face to an AI.
Since the announcement of his forced retirement – a decision taken after the actor revealed that he suffered from aphasia – Bruce Willis has left behind a career as high as Nakatomi Plaza. Legendary interpreter of John McClane in the saga die hardthe American had also distinguished himself in a number of cult films, pulp Fiction at Unbreakable, Passing by Moonrise Kingdom or Consumables. Despite some projects still on fire, Bruce Willis already promises to leave a void in the Hollywood landscape.
AI in cinema is not new
Unless artificial intelligence is responsible for perpetuating its legacy. A few days ago, The Telegraph revealed that the actor had signed a partnership with the company Deepcake, a specialist in deepfake technology, to create a digital double capable of replacing it on film sets. The idea sounds like the script for a dystopian movie, but it’s not new.
Several films have already used this type of process to facilitate the needs of a Hollywood project. We obviously think of Carrie Fisher, who was treated to a vibrant tribute in the guise of Princess Leia in 2019 in episode 9 of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkerreleased three years after the actress’ death. More anecdotally, it was Henry Cavill’s mustache that had been cut during editing thanks to the AI. The actor was already engaged on the set of Mission Impossible: Fall when he was called back to play Superman the reshoots of the first film Justice League. At $7,000 a minute, estimates the Huffington Postthe rendering was not really up to our expectations.
In general, deepfake technology fascinates as much as it worries. In Hollywood especially, this type of process could be used to permanently remove bad lip synchronizations from certain foreign language dubs. However, it also raises a number of ethical questions.
No, Bruce didn’t sell his face
The information revealed by The Telegraphthat Bruce Willis would have sold the rights to his face to create a digital twin capable of replacing him in an upcoming blockbuster is not without foundation. In 2021, the actor had praised the possibilities offered by the deepfake, before participating in a Russian advertising campaign for the company in question. However, his team is categorical: Bruce Willis “has no partnership or agreement with the Deepcake company“. By definition, the actor’s image rights remain his.
If it is therefore not excluded that Bruce Willis calls on his digital twin for a revival of die hard, the actor retains the rights to his face. Each project will therefore have to be done on a case-by-case basis, and with the agreement of the principal concerned (or later of his heirs).