Die Hard star Bruce Willis is taking on a new role, well, sort of. He has licensed his likeness to Russian tech company MegaFon for deepfakes in the company’s commercials.
The commercial acts like an action movie where fake Bruce Willis is tied down next to a man on a yacht. A bomb is about to go off, and the other guy video calls a young girl who gives them the code to disarm the explosive. It is cheesy and cheap-looking, as you would expect for a commercial, with some vibes of what M&Ms has done with its action movie-like commercials.
The deepfake itself leans heavily into the uncanny valley feeling from most deepfakes. Bruce Willis looked natural for maybe a few seconds before it cleared up that it clearly is not The Expendables star. For the quality of a commercial, it is not the worst thing in the world, but far from the best. It is a part of the trend of mimicking people’s faces, and as the technology grows, surely we will eventually see a more believable looking portrayal of the Hollywood actor.
So, did Bruce Willis really sign off on this? Yes, as revealed by Vasili Bolshakov, director for brand and marketing communications at MegaFon, who spoke about it in an interview with Russian outlet Sostav. The negotiations between the company and the actor were “quick and productive” as he was eager to make the deal.
It is not all that surprising that Bruce Willis took this job to be in commercials and posters of fake action movies for what is the second-largest mobile phone company and the third-largest telecom in Russia. Lately, his career has been filled with streaming movies that never see the theater, not that it is a bad thing necessarily, but from his legendary status of Die Hard and Pulp Fiction, it is an eyebrow-raising direction that he has taken over the past few years. His last major appearance was in M. Night Shyamalan’s (Old) Glass with James McAvoy (Split), Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit), and Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story). There was his feud with Sylvester Stallone (First Blood) over The Expendables 3, seeing Willis dropped from the project. He was set to star in the Woody Allen movie Café Society but was dropped right before shooting and replaced by Steve Carell (Space Force). It was reported he was dropped over not remembering lines and other problems with the actor.
Of these short projects, from straight to streaming movies to signing off on a deepfake of himself, Bruce Willis has been making serious money with little work. It has led to criticism over the actor, but when getting paid tons of cash for little work, it might be understandable for the 66-year-old Willis, depending on one’s perspective on the situation.
Bruce Willis has a long line of movies stacked for himself. Survive the Game, Bandits, Reactor, Apex, and American Siege are some of the work he has planned that fans can keep an eye out for through the rest of this year and the coming years.