Most celebrities aren’t afraid to throw their fame behind a well-paying brand, usually in the form of a baffling car commercial or a nonsensical perfume ad, but fans were a bit surprised to find out that Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks seemingly promoting a dental plan. After all, it isn’t like he needs the money and it was a strange product for the actor to sell. Turns out, he never did.
Tom Hanks took to Instagram to share a message to his fans that the dental plan ad circulating is using an AI version of himself, adding “I have nothing to do with it.” The message was posted over a screenshot of Hanks in the ad. In a still image like this, it is pretty easy to see that this isn’t the real Tom Hanks, but it is still an alarming use of deep fake technology to steal the identity of actors.
It is an extra layer of irony that the video came out while Hollywood remains mostly shut down by the actors’ strike, with the use of AI technology a key sticking point in negotiations. Hanks has even warned about this exact issue as recently as April 2023, during a guest appearance on a podcast. “We saw this coming. We saw that there was going to be this ability to take zeroes and ones inside a computer and turn it into a face and a character.”
While the WGA recently came to a tentative deal with studio representatives to limit the use of AI technology in the creative industry, actors remain on the picket lines until they get the same assurances from executives along with a host of other issues they hope to see resolved before they return to set. Until then, try to remember that if it seems strange that an actor is endorsing a random product, it might be because they didn't.