If you’re in the group of people who’ve been praying for the day that you’d be watching a Donald Trump biopic starring a high caliber actor like Johnny Depp, your dreams have come true. Funny or Die co-founder Adam McKay, the director of the Oscar-nominated film The Big Short, has brought a 50-minute adaptation of The Art of the Deal to the small screen.
The project was kept closely under wraps, according to a New York Times interview released shortly before the Donald bio movie appeared. Assuming that Trump would be disappearing from the public eye any day, the team tried to get Johnny’s portrayal up and running as soon as possible. That, of course, didn’t happen, giving them time to expand The Art of the Deal into a long-form Funny or Die production.
Before Depp takes the screen, Hollywood mainstay Ron Howard delivers a delightfully cheesy introduction telling the story of how the movie about Donald’s life has been locked away for decades because Trump got angry about a football game going into overtime. Because of that, the public has been sadly living without the “self-produced, self-acted” biography of one of America’s most fascinating public figures for more than 30 years. When speaking the New York Times, Adam kept up with the fictionally dubious origins surrounding the production.
“[We view the Donald biography] as an important historical document that has been hidden away, much like Jerry Lewis’s Holocaust clown movie.”
Johnny’s voice rings out over the opening of the found footage comedy, showing Trump as a young man surveying a picture of the Taj Mahal. A photo that he says inspired him to own something similar, eventually setting his sights on the casino version in New Jersey, a place “way better than India.”
“It was gorgeous, and it was yuge, and it was easily the classiest thing ever built by a Muslim.”
Depp’s performance and Funny or Die’s script are jarringly close to the true Donald. As anticipated, a lot of the jokes revolve around Trump’s massive ego and racist remarks, particularly against Arabs and African Americans. Still, Johnny doesn’t have the luxury of just popping off one-liners like a Saturday Night Live sketch. There’s actually a story to the biography that mocks Donald’s business savvy and runaway arrogance. After all, a lot of the best lines from the movie are directly lifted from things the man has actually said. For instance, that The Art of the Deal was the best book ever written — eclipsed only by the Bible.
Watching Depp in the bio, it’s clear he put a lot more into it than the typical comedy skit — something echoed by the Funny or Die’s current editor Owen Burke.
“[He was] absolutely bananas… Because we tend to move so fast, we’re usually just slapping wigs on people. But Johnny brought, like, a whole team of professionals to help him get into character. Or at least style his hair.”
Apart from Johnny Depp, those who watch the Donald Trump biopic of The Art of the Deal will also see Jack McBrayer, Patton Oswalt, Alfred Molina, Henry Winkler, Andy Richter, Jacob Tremblay, and Michaela Watkins as Ivana Trump.
[Photo by Dan Hallman/Invision/AP Images]