It turns out that no one save Bruce Willis himself can profit from using his likeness.
As reported last week, the actor had retired in March after being diagnosed with aphasia, a language disorder, and had sold the rights to his face to a Russian deepfake business called Deepcake. This would allow the company to construct a “digital twin” for the actor.
A spokeswoman for Willis, however, has denied that he has any sort of partnership or deal with the company, as reported by the BBC this weekend.
Further, Deepcake verified this to the BBC, adding, “The phrasing concerning rights is inaccurate… All of Bruce Willis legal protections are his by right, and he couldn’t even sell them.
Companies that specialize in “deepfakes” employ AI to make convincing impersonations of well-known people.
This time last year, a Russian telecommunications business ran an advertisement featuring a deepfake of Willis. While Deepcake boasts on its website that they collaborated with Willis to create the AI for the ad, the BBC was unable to confirm this with the actor’s representatives.
Last Monday, James Earl Jones, a seasoned veteran of the Star Wars franchise, officially retired from the role of Darth Vader and passed the baton to another artificial intelligence business, Respeecher, through the use of technology.