This piece was originally published on 11 February, 2016. It is being updated and republished in light of Donald Trump being elected the next President of the United States.
Keeping things secret in showbiz is like trying to stop a cow from dropping dung (the rationale for this graphic metaphor will become clear soon). Just ask Quentin Tarantino.
But the fact that Funny or Die and the production team on this mock-biopic of Donald Trump were able to keep it under wraps is truly remarkable. Late on Wednesday night (10 February), the 50-minute film finally hit the internet. And what a resounding hit it was. Releasing a whole nine months before Election Day, this prescient film actually ominously predicts that Trump is elected to the highest office in the land. It's also replete with some of the finest Trumpisms (imagined more than real) ever heard.
You know, suing someone — that’s the most beautiful thing one human being can do to another human being.
New York should be a place where everyone no matter their race, religion, creed, colour can be priced out of their neighbourhood. Not this hellhole where the wealthy elite live in fear of rent control.
I could go on and on with more of the gems with which Donald Trump’s The Art of The Deal: The Movie is liberally strewn, but that would be a disservice to you as well as this hysterical mock-biopic on Donald Trump. Starring Johnny Depp as the Republican Party’s frontrunner this year in the race to become President of the United States (still feels weird saying that), the film turns back the clock to 1986 and Trump's 40th birthday.
The premise of the film is simple enough: A young boy finds himself sneaking into Trump's office after stealing a copy of his book The Art of The Deal, only to run into Donald himself. A brilliantly portrayed Trump — that leans less towards caricature than embraces it wholeheartedly — sits the boy down and proceeds to tell him the secrets of his success, while simultaneously trying to goad/barrack/coerce Merv Griffin (a camply-played cameo from Patton Oswalt) into selling him the Taj Mahal Casino. And as Trump lays down his wisdom, the deal goes back and forth.
Running through the little boy's (or maybe that should that be boys'. It'll make sense when you watch the film) education, is a foul-mouthed barrage filled with enough pee and poop jokes — if the phrase 'world-class Trump dump' makes you laugh, this film is highly recommended — to maybe even impress Jay and Silent Bob.
And that's before Alfred Molina (playing Jerry Schrager, 'Jewish Lawyer') simulates oral bobbitisation.
Along the way come Trump's outrageously politically incorrect relationship with his wife Ivana (Michaela Watkins), a hilarious rap about how cool lawsuits are, a typically over-the-top 80s-style opening credits theme by Kenny Loggins, Trump's toilet troubles, a shocking visitor from the future, and plenty more. While the highlight of Donald Trump’s The Art of The Deal: The Movie is unarguably Depp, who ably demonstrates what the offspring of real estate mogul-turned-politician and Raoul Duke (click here to jog your memory) might be like, cameos by Jack MacBrayer, Henry Winkler, Christopher Lloyd and Stephen Merchant truly make this film worth a few watches.
With that sort of cast, that sort of subject matter and that sort of treatment, just how did they manage to keep it all so hush-hush?
Funny or Die's editor-in-chief Owen Burke told The New York Times, "We had a few people sign nondisclosures, but mostly we just begged people not to say anything." According to the report, the film was conceptualised in September last year, and Depp spent four days in December filming the performance Burke described as 'absolutely bananas'.
But wait, what if Trump had dropped out of the presidential race and as a consequence, dropped out of the news cycle?
"The plan was to move really fast because we thought Trump would go away, as least as a presidential candidate,” The New York Times quoted Burke as saying, and added: “When he bizarrely didn’t go away, we had a little more time."
Considering how the Trump juggernaut is rolling along at present, it's difficult to dismiss the horrible feeling that Funny or Die probably have enough time to make a full-length feature, or even a three-part miniseries. Besides, as the movie shows, in the future, Trump does become the US president and returns from 2016 to tell his 40-year-old self just that.
Watch the trailer below and should it grab your fancy, the link to the full film will magically emerge. Enjoy, ok?