Tom Cruise has become a bit of a TikTok star in recent days, but the catch is that it's not really him. An account called @deeptomcruise has been posting deepfake videos of Tom Cruise doing things like testing his golf skills and performing magic tricks with coins for the camera. If you didn't know going in that these videos were deepfakes, you just might be fooled as the videos are incredibly convincing by perfectly encapsulating Cruise's looks and personality - right down to the maniacal laugh.
The videos are amusing, but they also showcase just how far along deepfake technology has come in the span of a few short years. Potentially, this tech could be used for malevolent purposes, which has some people concerned. As photographer Lauren White writes on one of the videos on TikTok: "Deep fakes are getting scary good and taking over TikTok. Every public figure should just be on there with a verified account - even if they don't want to make content - to make it easier to identify their fakes."
We've seen a variety of deepfake parody videos popping up on YouTube in recent years. Sometimes, these videos can be used to give viewers a look at how certain movies might have looked with other actors in the lead roles. One particularly popular example recast Back to the Future with Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. playing the roles of Marty and Doc, and the concept actually managed to hook a lot of Marvel fans. Another video recast Jack Nicholson with Jim Carrey in The Shining to showcase another alternate casting that oddly somehow worked.
Meanwhile, other deepfake videos head straight into absurdity just to see how crazy they can push the technology. Someone actually took Home Alone and digitally inserted Sylvester Stallone's face onto Macaulay Culkin's body, retitling the classic comedy as Home Stallone. Another deepfake video took Parks and Recreation character Ron Swanson's face and put it over every other character's face on Full House - even the baby played by the Olsen Twins.
Martin Scorsese's 2019 movie The Irishman drew some criticism when it was released because of its de-aging technology. One fan went so far as to use deepfake technology on the computer to do the de-aging process for the movie, and a lot of people felt that it looked much better than what Scorsese had presented. It's no wonder why now seemed like a good time for a Face/Off sequel to be made face-swapping tech evolving so rapidly these days.
Meanwhile, people who want to see the real Tom Cruise can look forward to watching his return to the big screen this year. He'll be back in Mission: Impossible 7 when the action sequel is released on Nov. 19, 2021, with the movie heading to the streaming service Paramount+ 45 days later. Cruise will again return as Ethan Hunt in an eighth Mission: Impossible movie to be released in 2022. At this time, the real Tom is not active on TikTok, so fans of the actor on the social media platform will have to settle for deepfake videos for now.