Tom Cruise Deepfakes Might Hint At Something New From South Park Creators

Some recent viral TikToks come from an artist working for Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

6 Comments

A trio of viral deepfake videos of actor Tom Cruise just hanging out, being Tom Cruise, but saying some strange things like repeating jokes told to him by former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev were recently revealed to be the handiwork of Belgian video visual effects specialist Chris Ume. After leaving the internet to puzzle over these mysterious clips for about a week, Ume took credit on LinkedIn for the videos without much elaboration.

For those who are unfamiliar, deepfakes are an emerging form of media in which an existing image or video is replaced with someone else's likenesses. The technique leverages techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with a high potential to deceive--or, as you most often run into it on the internet, hopefully just entertain. Fortune reached out to Ume for comment on the videos, who said only, "We're looking for the correct way to communicate about this." Ume's work was also cross-posted onto Twitter, which means you can check out the videos below. Again, remember this is not actually Cruise in these clips.

Ume's use of Cruise in this video is a subtle nod to his recent new employer, Deep Voodoo. That name may not yet sound incredibly familiar, but the company is a new AI studio located in LA co-founded by South Park's Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Late last year, Stone and Parker similarly unveiled a mysterious new web series titled Sassy Justice, produced via Deep Voodoo, which featured Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead) voicing Fred Sassy, a reporter whose face is superimposed with a deepfake of Donald Trump. The connection? In Sassy's debut, the reporter learns about the threats deepfakes pose in an explainer video featuring Cruise.

Sassy Justice, Stone and Parker told The New York Times last year, was originally intended to be a full-length deepfake movie. But when COVID-19 hit, the project pivoted to be a web series--which may be about to roll out another episode, which would be the third so far.

The real Tom Cruise, meanwhile, is taking a breather between Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, which until only recently were expected to film back-to-back. Mission: Impossible 7 is wrapping up its shoot now, and is scheduled to release in cinemas on November 19.

David Wolinsky on Google+

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 6 comments about this story