Bruce Willis
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
December 5, 2023 ·  5 min read

Bruce Willis Has Become First Hollywood Actor To Sell Rights To ‘Digital Twin’

Correction Notice (10/03/2022): It was widely reporeted that Bruce Willis sold the rights to his face to a Russian deepfake company called Deepcake. However, since the time of this publication, the legitimacy of this claim has been challenged and deemed false. The BBC reports that a spokesperson for Willis denied that he had any kind of partnership with the company. Deepcake confirmed to BBC stating,  “The wording about rights is wrong… Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default.” Our original article below will remain published and unaltered for our records.

Technology has progressed to such an extent- that almost every single celebrity has a deepfake of them somewhere. But it is important to note that not every deepfake is authentic- and sometimes it could also be illegal. Recently, Bruce Willis- the actor famous for his roles in movies like Glass, Die Hard, and The Sixth Sense- has become the first mega star in Hollywood to sell his image to a technology company. This implies that his clone- created through Artificial Intelligence- could now act in movies in his place. This begs the question- are we looking toward a future where deepfakes and clones would rule our entertainment sector? For the Bruce Willis deepfake is just a start. [1]

Nevertheless, one can’t blame the actor for selling his image rights to the AI Company- Deepcake. Bruce Willis has already retired from acting- as he had to due to his diagnosis with aphasia, a disease that affects the speech patterns of an individual. Now, Deepcake would be able to use his talking and moving image in TV productions and films.

But the Bruce Willis deepfake is just the tip of the iceberg in the company’s uber-ambitious dreams. This firm has set its sights on turning out to be the largest talent agency in the world. In fact, the company wants to bring both dead and living actors back to the big screen. Maria Chmir, the CEO of the firm, stated that several plans are already on the way- with conversations being struck up with the estates of dead actors. 

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Bruce Willis Deepfake- Modern Problems Require Modern Solutions

This passionate CEO stated, “We create digital twins of celebrities and the actual production process doesn’t require the physical presence of a celebrity on stage. It means coming like Charlie Chaplin and Kevin Hart can interact in one frame now.” With Bruce Willis willingly selling his image rights, the company could receive a lot of traction. And to be fair, the actor did appreciate the likeness of the AI Clone. [2]

In a statement, he stated, “I liked the precision with which my character turned out. It’s a mini-movie in my usual action-comedy gene. For me, it is a great opportunity to go back in time. With the advent of modern technology, even when I was on another continent, I was able to communicate, work and participate in the filming. It’s a very new and interesting experience, and I thank our entire team.” 

The actor’s troubles with aphasia had begun quite a long time ago, but the diagnosis came in much late. In a statement, the family of the actor spoke about his retirement and their shared grief. “We wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him. This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion, and support.

In August, Willis’s wife Emma also shared her own thoughts, “This was the summer of self-discovery- finding new hobbies, going out of my comfort zone, and staying active. My grief can be paralyzing but I’m learning how to live alongside it. As my step-daughter Scout Willis told me, grief is the deepest and purest form of love. I hope you find some comfort in that too.”

Read: Scientists Built an AI to Give Ethical Advice, But It Turned Out Super Racist

From Body Double To AI Clones- Where Do We Go Next?

Even if the Bruce Willis deepfake is a work of modern technology, a certain doppelganger certainly got some attention over the years. It is a certain Eric Buarque, who was born around 14 years after Willis- 4000 miles away. And yet, at a glance- he does look like the actor. According to Michael Oberman, a local wildlife photographer, and author, “I was walking along the path at Wilde Lake in Columbia and saw a guy sitting on a bench. I said, ‘That’s Bruce Willis.’” [3]

But it wasn’t him- surprisingly. Of course, there were subtle differences between the actor and the body double- with the latter having eyes that were more piercing, and a chin that was slightly more pinched. To someone who was simply glancing at Buarque, these differences wouldn’t be noticeable. 

Being the body double of Bruce Willis comes with its own baggage. Buarque is stopped at least once a day and fans cater up to him for pictures. And being the genial man that he is- he gives them away. It must also be said that he clarifies that he is not the actor. At the end of the day, he is an entertainer, so he would not step back from doing such a trivial thing that could potentially make someone happy. Now, with the Bruce Willis deepfake already in the news, will Buarque be rendered dispensable?

Only time will tell.

Keep Reading: Justin Bieber reveals health diagnosis after facial paralysis


  1. Bruce Willis becomes first Hollywood actor to sell image rights to artificial intelligence company.” ITv. September 29, 2022.
  2. Bruce Willis has become first Hollywood actor to sell rights to ‘digital twin’.” Unilad. Aisha Nozari. September 29, 2022.
  3. This is not a story about Bruce Willis.” Washington Post