Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The creators of South Park launched an entire deepfake studio to make Sassy Justice

Illustration for article titled The creators of iSouth Park/i launched an entire deepfake studio to make iSassy Justice/i
Screenshot: Sassy Justice

The first signs of Sassy Justice appeared in Wyoming last weekend, when a curly-headed character with a striking resemblance to the president began appearing on local billboards and commercials. After hitting the internet, the short was revealed to be an elaborate demonstration of deepfake technology, with Trump and other social and political figures getting their mean mugs reshaped by the kind of technology that could one day doom us all.

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It turned out to be the work of South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who developed the 15-minute clip with actor Peter Serafinowicz, here reprising his viral Sassy Trump bit.

One question lingered, however: How did these guys get so good at deepfakes? Well, according to a new interview in the New York Times, they hired around 20 deepfake artists and technicians” and started a studio, Deep Voodoo, with the intention of creating a feature film. Alas, COVID-19 struck just a few days into filming, forcing the crew to reimagine Sassy Justice as a web series. “It’s probably the single most expensive YouTube video ever made,” Parker said, saying they’d spent “millions” on the endeavor.

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Described as being in the spirit of The Great Dictator and Dave, the film, had it wrapped filming, would’ve found Fred Sassy being “drawn into the president’s administration.” The story will unfold in some shape or form, be it on film or TV, as Parker and Stone sound positively smitten with the deepfake model.

“It really is this new form of animation for people like us, who like to construct things on a shot-by-shot level and have control over every single actor and voice,” he said. “It’s a perfect medium for us.” He and Stone compared the experience to the creation of The Spirit Of Christmas, the DIY short that set the stage for South Park.

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“Before the big scary thing of coronavirus showed up, everyone was so afraid of deepfakes,” said Stone. “We just wanted to make fun of it because it makes it less scary.”

Also less scary? Mark Zuckerberg. Look at this turkey. 

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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