In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker revealed that they had plans to create a deepfake Donald Trump film prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The term “deepfake” refers to a video in which artificial intelligence is used to place a person’s likeness and voice in a situation that did not actually occur.
“It was going to be 'Deep Fake: The Movie,'" Parker told the Times. “It was about this guy who looked exactly like Trump because we deepfake Trump’s face onto him.”
The movie would have been Stone's and Parker’s first feature film since 2004’s "Team America: World Police." Filming was set to begin in March 2020, one day before the world shut down due to the threat of COVID-19.
“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,’” Parker said. “I went to the office to start packing up my things because I was just kind of in shock.”
For now, the film remains on hold. “It was very timely, and the timeliness of it has passed,” Parker said. “We’d have to majorly rethink it to do it now.”
During the pandemic, Parker and Stone created a web series called "Sassy Justice," which used deepfake technology to portray celebrities and politicians — including Trump. The series was a viral hit, with its most popular video garnering over 2 million views. To create the series, Stone and Parker launched a studio they named Deep Voodoo and hired a staff of about 20 deepfake artists and technicians, according to an interview the two conducted with the New York Times.
Stone and Parker first achieved acclaim with their hit animated sitcom "South Park," an irreverent comedy known for its dark humor and satirical takes on all aspects of modern society. The show debuted in 1997 and has broadcast 318 episodes. In August 2021, the series was renewed through 2027.
Fans of Stone and Parker may be reassured to know that the Trump film isn’t completely dead. “I don’t know, he could be running again,” Stone said.