Terrifying Deepfake Recasts Willem Dafoe As Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman'

A disturbing deepfake that sees Willem Dafoe replace Julia Roberts as the star of Pretty Woman has stunned fans on social media.

To the uninitiated, a deepfake is a piece of video footage in which a digitally animated mask is applied to the face of one individual on screen, making them resemble someone else entirely.

In this case, the face of Dafoe was placed over that of Roberts in one of her signature roles.

The clip is the work of Todd Spence, a screenwriter and filmmaker from L.A., who posted the footage to Twitter alongside a caption commenting: "Good God."

At the time of writing, it had already garnered more than 1.7 million views.

In the video, fans are treated to a highlights reel featuring some of Roberts' most memorable moments as Vivian Ward in the hit film, albeit with one pretty noticeable difference.

Where Roberts once occupied the screen with a turn that would serve as the launchpad for her career, viewers are instead treated to the sight of a long-haired Dafoe listening to a Walkman in the bath, while Richard Gere looks on admiringly.

The clip continues on with Dafoe decked out in a series of dresses, including some leather knee-high boots and the cutout bodysuit that became synonymous with the movie.

If PRETTY WOMAN starred Willem Dafoe instead. Good God. pic.twitter.com/GdieGzSKuX

— SPENCE, TODD (@Todd_Spence) September 5, 2021

The video's creator, Spence, has made his name for himself with a series of award-winning short horror films created alongside Zak White under the guise of Midnight Video.

However, this latest effort might be his scariest yet, serving as a reminder of the power of deepfake technology and the potential for it to be used and abused in everything from fake news to the adult entertainment industry.

Deepfake porn, which sees the face of the original adult actor swapped with that of a celebrity, is increasingly commonplace while a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was previously altered using deepfake technology to make her appear drunk.

In this instance, the application of deepfake is largely harmless, though it did cause some consternation among Pretty Woman fans.

Chalkarts branded the video "terrifying" on Twitter while BryanTannAuthor described the results as "frightening." Skulls_diamond simply wrote: "My eyes!"

Elsewhere Josh_the_Weirdo was one of many to note similarities between this version of Dafoe and a certain Aerosmith frontman.

"Willem Dafoe with Julia Robert's hair looks like Steven Tyler," he tweeted.

Oddly enough, this isn't the first time a Dafoe deepfake has caught the eye online.

A previous clip, which saw him replace Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, went viral in February last year, with fans remarking on how realistic the resulting footage looked.

Arguably the most celebrated celebrity deepfake, however, concerns Tom Cruise and a TikTok account dedicated to posting deepfakes of the Mission Impossible star.

Newsweek has reached out to Spence for comment on his clip.

Willem Dafoe and Julia Roberts.
Willem Dafoe at the 70th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin / Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman' - an unsettling new viral video has seen the Spider-Man villain replace Roberts in the hit 80s romantic comedy. Matthias Nareyek/Hulton Archive/Getty