In the late ‘80s, Donald Trump wrote, produced, and directed a made-for-TV movie based on his life and named after his bestselling book The Art Of The Deal. The night it was supposed to premiere, however, a football game bumped it from the schedule, and Trump furiously banished it to the grave, ordering that it never be seen by anyone, ever. That is, until Oscar-nominated director Ron Howard dug it up at an Arizona garage sale and shared it with the world.
OK, so... none of that is technically true. It IS, however, the premise of a new faux biopic from Funny or Die that stars noted chameleon Johnny Depp as the real estate mogul-turned-presidential frontrunner. No stranger to outlandish roles and dramatic transformations, Depp tackles perhaps his most nuanced performance to date, hilariously spoofing Trump in a thick prosthetic mask and clumps of fake hair.
Patton Oswalt, Henry Winkler, Christopher Lloyd, Alfred Molina, Stephen Merchant, Andy Richter, and Jacob Tremblay (the 9-year-old who stars in the Oscar-nominated Room) round out the random, star-studded cast. Yes, this all really happened.
Purporting itself as a “VHS copy,” the ambitious, 50-minute project is so very ‘80s, complete with a grainy aesthetic and an original theme song from Kenny Loggins. Throw in a music video with The Fat Boys and an Alf cameo, and you have a YUGE vintage hit on your hands.
In an interview with The New York Times, Funny or Die co-founder Adam McKay said The Art Of The Deal: The Movie was filmed over just four days in a rare window in Depp’s schedule.
"It was a crazy, completely nuts idea that somehow we pulled off,” he said, adding that Depp’s performance is “absolutely bananas.”
Production was kept tightly under wraps, and the editing process was fast-tracked to coincide with last night’s New Hampshire primaries (which Trump actually won, ICYMI).
"The plan was to move really fast because we thought Trump would go away, at least as a presidential candidate," Owen Burke, Funny or Die’s editor-in-chief, added. "When he bizarrely didn’t go away, we had a little more time. But that meant keeping the secret for longer."
Suffice to say, if a proper Trump biopic ever gets green-lit in Hollywood (hate to say it, but it seems only inevitable), Depp absolutely must reprise this role -- he's making parodies great again.