Despite stepping away from acting, Bruce Willis will continue to ‘appear’ in projects through deepfake technology.
It has been revealed that Bruce Willis has sold the rights to his digital likeness to Deepcake, a US technology firm. The deal will allow the actor’s digital likeness to be used in future screen projects. The 67-year old recently retired from acting due to suffering from aphasia, a condition which affects his cognitive functions.
The Die Hard star released a statement endorsing the deal and saying how pleased he was with a recent phone advert in which his likeness was digitally added.
However, some serious ethical questions remain here. There’s an argument that those around Willis shouldn’t have let his acting career go on for so long, with some of his final co-stars discussing his deteriorating cognitive abilities in shocking terms. Now the actor has effectively sold future control of his likeness and questions will be asked as to whether that deal has been formed with his best interests at heart.
Yes, we have seen such deals before where a late actor’s estate sells their likeness such as Peter Cushing ‘appearing’ in Rogue One, but such occasions are always negotiated on a project-by-project basis meaning the estate ultimately retains control over when, where and how an actor’s likeness could be used.
This deal, which it seems will effectively see Willis’ likeness move (perhaps permanently) beyond the control of himself and his family, looks to be wholly different and somewhat questionable. Without knowing the specifics of the deal, it’s difficult to say anymore, but the projects that Willis’ ‘digital twin’ pops up in will determine whether this deal is in the actor’s best interests or not. We’ll bring you more on this story as we hear it.
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