Harry Potter deepfake inserts Meryl Streep as Dolores Umbridge

"The best actress of her generation."

Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
Expertise Film and TV Credentials
  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset

Meryl Streep as Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge.

AsArt/YouTube; screenshot by CNET

Deepfakes have their deeply questionable uses, but when they're not, for example, replacing Bill Pullman with Donald Trump 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 Bill Hader as the T-1000 in Terminator 2, and Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland as Doc Brown and Marty McFly in Back to the Future. It's all super impressive and highly disturbing.

26 deepfakes that will freak you out

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