Deepfakes have their deeply questionable uses, but when they’re not replacing to give Independence Day speeches, they’re an incredibly effective way of visualizing recastings of famous films. How about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix?
A deepfake from YouTuber AsArt replaces Imelda Staunton with Meryl Streep in the role of Dolores Umbridge. This is the professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts who’s described as resembling a large, pale toad, and whose love for kittens and other related paraphernalia belies her cruelness toward Harry.
Several choice scenes are at play here, including the one where Umbridge has Harry write lines with a special quill that doesn’t require ink. That’s because it writes with the blood of the person using it.
“You know, I really hate children” — a classic Umbridge line that Streep would nail.
Ministry of Magic politics aside, this is a seamless deepfake that somehow taps Streep’s ability to subtly undermine. Big Little Lies Streep would’ve gotten her the job in real life.
Deepfake video-manipulation technology has been used for a while now to reimagine roles with different actors, without having to remake the whole film. You can see, and as Doc Brown and Marty McFly in Back to the Future. It’s all super impressive and highly disturbing.