“South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker went viral during the pandemic thanks to their surprise deepfake video, “Sassy Justice,” which has earned over 2 million views on YouTube since its October 2020 debut. The 14-minute short finds a deepfake Donald Trump, voiced by Peter Serafinowicz, reporting news out of Cheyenne, Wyoming under the eponymous moniker. The project was the first bit of content to come out of Deep Voodoo, Stone and Parker’s deepfake production studio.
Stone and Parker said at the time that “Sassy Justice” came about because “we just wanted to make fun of [deepfakes] because it makes it less scary,” but it turns out the project had its roots in a full-length Donald Trump deepfake movie that Parker and Stone were working on and then scrapped because of the pandemic. The duo revealed the project’s existence in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“Not a lot of people know that we were a day away from starting production on the first feature movie we had done since ‘Team America: World Police,'” Parker said. “We were going to start shooting on the day that the pandemic shut everything down. It was months and months of getting ready for that movie, to just being like, ‘Nope, it’s over.’ I went to the office to start packing up my things because I was just kind of in shock.”
Stone said the deepfake movie is “sort of on hold.” Why? “It was very timely and the timeliness of it has passed,” Parker added. “We’d have to majorly rethink it to do it now.”
Stone and Parker founded Deep Voodoo because of the movie they planned to make. “It was going to be ‘Deep Fake: The Movie,'” Parker said. “It was about this guy who looked exactly like Trump because we deep fake Trump’s face onto him. And it was this whole funny thing because, of course, it ends up with Trump just naked and getting run through the wringer and everything, and that’s why it was so funny and so timely.”
Serafinowicz was going to voice the Trump deepfake, just as he did in “Sassy Justice.” Stone added, “Even though the script was sort of timely, we ended up keeping the deep fake part of the studio going.”
Deep Voodoo ended up working on “Sassy Justice” instead once the feature-length deepfake project fell through because of the pandemic. The studio would later join forces with Kendrick Lamar for his “The Heart Part 5” video, which went viral for using deepfake technology to put the faces of Will Smith and more on Lamar’s body. The video, which debuted May 8, has earned over 38 million views on YouTube.
As for the scrapped deepfake movie, will it ever end up being made? “I don’t know, [Trump] could be running again,” Stone said, noting a timely window could end up opening for the project to be made.