Three days ago, a TikTok account going by @deeptomcruise began posting video clips of the Hollywood actor Tom Cruise doing everything from golfing, to tripping and telling a joke in what appears to be a men’s clothing store in Italy, to performing a magic trick with a coin. In each of the three videos, Cruise delivers his signature maniacal laugh—you know, the one he repeatedly unleashed in that batty Scientology recruitment video years back—before launching into some sort of bit, and in all of them, it looks just like Cruise. Only it’s not Cruise.
I saw the golfing tok a few days ago and thought, “He is much too tall to be Tom Cruise.” It looked very real, but I trust so little of what I see on the internet these days that I totally dismissed it. But the account keeps pumping out new deepfakes and they keep getting more disturbing and delightful. The man is a total nut job and we made him, but the deepfakes are something even more worrying. You can now make anyone do anything on video, and this is the internet age — this stuff lasts forever.