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It was reported this week that the actor's film legacy would continue through a deal with the company Deepcake, which makes artificial intelligence-replicas of celebrities. Reports stated that Willis's "digital twin" would be used in future films and projects at the discretion of Willis's estate.
Only, it's not true. Willis's rep tells Yahoo Entertainment that he "has no partnership or agreement" with this company.
It's unclear where this rumor started. However, in August 2021, the action superstar's likeness was used in a Russian commercial for the mobile communication company MegaFon. The authorized deepfake of the actor was created by Deepcake.
At the time, Deepcake revealed how Willis appeared to be the commercial without setting foot in Russia. A company rep explained that it created an artificial neural network to impose Willis's image onto the face of Russian actor Konstantin Solovyov. The process took 15 to 17 days with the company boasting how it's cheaper and easier to use these digital fakes of celebrities for productions because projects "don't depend on schedule[s], circumstances and special requests from celebrities."
Watch how it works:
A rep for Deepcake confirms that, while they worked together last year on that commercial, "the rights to Bruce Willis's image [and] to his Digital Twin belong to Bruce Willis and to him only."
In March, the Willis family said in a statement that the star had been diagnosed with aphasia, a condition where a person loses the ability to communicate. As a result he was "stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him."
The same day, the Los Angeles Times published a report in which nearly two dozen people who had been on set with Willis in recent years (for mostly straight to VOD movies), expressed concern about his well-being. Among the claims was that Willis unexpectedly fired a gun loaded with a blank on the wrong cue on the set of Hard Kill — a claim denied by the producer and armorer. Multiple set sources claimed Willis often seemed confused on the set of 2022's White Elephant, once asking, "Why am I here?"
The same outlet did an exposé soon after on Hollywood producer Randall Emmett, who hired Willis to appear in two dozen films — mostly the straight to VOD ones — since 2006. It claimed the action star had his lines fed to him in an earpiece and couldn't kick open a door in the film Midnight in the Switchgrass. However, he continued to churn out films. In the story, Emmett's rep denied he was aware "of any decline in Mr. Willis's health." Willis still has three projects filmed prior to his retirement that have yet to be released.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story was published before Willis's spokesperson clarified that he has no partnership or agreement with Deepcake.