This week, justice got a new name — and that name is “Sassy.” A viral deepfake video was released earlier this week starring President Donald Trump sporting a new look and reporting news out of Cheyenne, Wyoming under the name “Sassy Justice.”Of course, it’s not actually Trump, but the deepfake work was stellar. Just a few days after the video’s release, it was revealed that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were behind “Sassy Justice,” with The Tick alum and famed impersonator Peter Serafinowicz playing the deepfake Trump. So, why did this trio go to such great lengths to make us laugh?
Once you know Parker, Stone, and Serafinowicz are behind the video, it’s undeniable that their influence is all over it. Part of that influence goes back to Parker and Stone’s consistent efforts to poke fun at the current moment, which they’ve done time and time again on South Park. Speaking with The New York Times, Parker and Stone discussed those timely motivations behind the making of “Sassy Justice,” which not only utilizes a deepfake version of Trump, but also incorporates Julie Andrews, Mark Zuckerberg, Al Gore, Jared Kushner, Michael Caine, and Chris Wallace deepfakes into its 14-minute runtime.
According to Stone, “Sassy Justice” came about because “before the big scary thing of coronavirus showed up, everyone was so afraid of deepfakes [and] we just wanted to make fun of it because it makes it less scary.”
To this, Parker touched on just how perfect the deepfake technology was for the duo which has, in the past, repeatedly South Park-ified the likenesses and personality traits of celebrities for comedic effect. As Parker puts it, “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. It’s a perfect medium for us.”
In order to make “Sassy Justice” a reality, Parker and Stone created Deep Voodoo, a studio dedicated to making their independently-financed project. From there, they brought in 20 deepfake artists and technicians who could help them bring this project aimed at both making fun of deepfakes while exposing just how dangerous they can be as tools of misinformation. Production on “Sassy Justice” began earlier in 2020, before the pandemic, in the hopes the video would be completed before the election and before Parker and Stone had to start working on a new season of South Park. While no exact figure is shared, the duo says it cost millions to producer, with Parker noting, “It’s probably the single most expensive YouTube video ever made.”
You can watch the first installment of Sassy Justice below. (Please be advised President Trump is not actually starring in this video.) For more, read Parker and Stone’s complete New York Times interview on “Sassy Justice,” where they break down how they made this video a reality.
Allie Gemmill is the Weekend Contributing Editor for Collider. You can follow them on Twitter @_matineeidle.