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Deep Fake 007s

7th March 2024

A new short film explores deep fake technology with James Bonds

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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Scottish artist Rachel Maclean has created a new 16-minute short film that explores the realm of deep fake technology and uses deep fake technology to tell the story. Titled 'DUCK,' a nod to the idiom "if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...", the film has just completed a run at the 2024 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Every iteration of James Bond features in the film which sees the 007's investigate multiple Marilyn Monroes and a UFO conspiracy.  

She explained how she made the film to ArtForum: "I first saw a deepfake in 2019 and was determined to figure out how to make one. I often play all the characters in my films, but transform myself in uncanny ways with costume and makeup. Using deepfake seemed like an interesting way to develop this, so swapping a physical mask for a digital one."

In 2022, we began developing deepfake models, which requires collecting loads of data—or in this case, cutting bits out of loads of Bond films! I wanted the script to be informed by the technology, so wrote and rewrote it simultaneous with this technical R&D. There are a lot of limitations. For example, you can’t deepfake anyone from behind or in profile, so the whole film had to be designed to avoid that. We worked with Edinburgh University to produce deepfake audio models for all the characters, and used these to generate dialogue from the script, which I mimed to against green screen. The deepfake faces took months to output. It was quite stressful. It’s not a process that has been applied much to this kind of film before, and it’s very unpredictable, so we were never quite sure how it would turn out. I had to keep buying new computers in an attempt to get it done on time. We added film grain on top, so it feels somewhere between a 1960s movie and a video game."

You can watch a two-minute excerpt of the short film online:

“It’s my reality now, and unfortunately, you’re just living in it.”

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