Anthony Bourdain’s widow has claimed she didn’t allow filmmakers to use deepfakes of the late chef’s voice in a new documentary.
Ottavia Busia, who split from Bourdain in 2016 but was legally married when she died two years later, said she had made it clear that Bourdain would not be happy with the move. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, which is now available in the US, uses AI to recreate Bourdain’s voice in the feature.
Despite confirming with filmmaker Morgan Neville Variety Earlier this week that any desire by his team to use deepfake technology was given by Bourdain’s estate and family, Busia denied the claim. “I definitely wasn’t the one who said Tony would be nice to him”, she wrote in a quote tweet involving Neville Variety Interview.
I certainly wasn’t the one who said Tony would be good with it. https://t.co/CypDvc1sBP
— Octavia (@OttaviaBourdain) July 16, 2021
Neville said the creative decision was approved by those closest to Bourdain. “I checked, you know, with his widow and her literary executor, just to make sure people were cool with her. And they were like, Tony would be nice to her.”
However, critics have voiced against the use of AI in the film, with one screenwriter deeming it “morally flawed”.
Ashley Lynch wrote online, “It’s morally messed up on so many levels and really gross.”
Another journalist tweeted, “We… need to collectively reevaluate our relationships with notable artists and question why we still feel so entitled to them after death.”
Neville also told Variety: “There were some sentences that Tony wrote that he never spoke out loud. With the blessings of his wealth and literary agent, we used AI technology.”
Meanwhile, earlier this year all 12 seasons of Bourdain’s acclaimed food and travel series Anthony Bourdain: Part Unknown Became available to watch on Netflix.
The LOVEBYLIFE food and travel series was fronted by the late chef, who died at the age of 61 in June 2018. Bourdain took his own life during filming. part unknown in Strasbourg, France.
His second novel has also been flagged for an American TV series.