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Tom Cruise deepfake creator on how he made viral TikTok video


He’s sorry for faking us out.

The creator of recent, viral deepfake videos showing Tom Cruise practicing his golf swing, doing a magic trick and laughing at his own pratfall now says he did not mean to freak anyone out.

“I’d like to show people the technical possibilities of these things. I don’t intend to use it in any way where I would upset people — I just want to show them what’s possible in a few years,” Belgian visual effects artist Christopher Ume told the Guardian of the videos, which employ a Cruise impersonator, Miles Fisher, to pull off the ruse.

The series of startlingly lifelike videos — posted on a TikTok page titled “deeptomcruise” — featuring the faux action star emerged last week and have since accumulated millions of views and become a viral sharing sensation.

“I just strongly think that there should be laws to help with the responsible use of AI and deepfakes,” Ume said in the wake of his eye-opening — and eye-deceiving — endeavor.

A "deepfake" video shows tom Cruise playing golf.
A deepfake video shows Tom Cruise playing golf.
@deeptomcruise/TikTok

Ume and Fisher had previously worked together on a YouTube web series that imagined a 2020 presidential campaign run by the 58-year-old “Mission: Impossible” actor.

“A month later, he contacted me again, and said: ‘Let’s make a funny video … I’ll film myself in my garden and then you just make me look like Tom Cruise,’ ” Ume remembered. “And so we did that and he posted it — but he also created a TikTok account. He doesn’t know anything about the app, I don’t either, but then two days later, he sends me a screenshot: ‘Dude. Two and a half million views.’ ”

The rest is fake history.

But Ume said he never intended to pull one over on the public; he simply wanted to step up his work game.

“When I started doing video and working on my projects, just in general, I always had a dream. I would like to work for Peter Jackson on ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ” he told the Guardian. “I’m saying this in every interview: Hey, Peter, if you’re reading this, contact me.”

So-called deepfake technology has perplexed the public for years. In 2019, a freaky video fused Cruise’s face on that of “Barry” star Bill Hader during a 2008 interview on “Late Night with David Letterman.” And deepfake porn has even found a peculiarly specific pop culture target: K-pop stars.

Meanwhile, technology experts are slamming the infusion of deepfakes into pop culture and the world in general.

“Deepfakes will impact public trust, provide cover & plausible deniability for criminals/abusers caught on video or audio, and will be (and are) used to manipulate, humiliate, & hurt people,” Rachel Tobac, the CEO of online security company SocialProof, said in a recent tweet, adding they had “real world safety, political etc impact for everyone.”

 





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