Only Bruce Willis has the rights to Bruce Willis’s face, it transpires.
It was widely reported last week that the star had sold the rights to his face to a Russian deepfake company called Deepcake – allowing the company to create a “digital twin” for the actor, who retired in March following his diagnosis of aphasia, a condition affecting a person’s speech.
However, the BBC this weekend reports a spokesperson for Willis denying that he has any kind of partnership or agreement with the company.
And Deepcake confirmed this to the BBC, saying: “The wording about rights is wrong… Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default.”
Deepfake companies use artificial intelligence to create realistic simulations of famous figures. A deepfake of Willis appeared in an advert for a Russian telecoms company last year. Deepcake claims to have worked with the actor on the AI for the ad and used a glowing recommendation by him on their website, but Willis’s people did not confirm this to the BBC.
Last week, Star Wars veteran James Earl Jones handed over the rights of his unique Darth Vader tones to another AI company, Respeecher, indicating that he was retiring from the role, and passing the baton through the use of technology.