Donald Trump woke up to more than just a win in the New Hampshire primary Wednesday: Funny or Die have unleashed their 50-minute film The Art of the Deal: The Movie, a faux-biopic centered around the mogul’s best-selling business book starring Johnny Depp in the role of Trump.
“Thought to be lost in the Cybill Shepherd blouse fire of ’89, The Art of the Deal was a TV movie based on the best-selling Donald Trump autobiography of the same name. In fact, it was written, directed and starred Donald Trump himself,” filmmaker Ron Howard, who serves as the feature’s narrator, jokingly tells the audience. “But The Art of the Deal was almost never seen; it was preempted by Monday Night Football in 1988… Trump was furious, and vowed never to air his masterpiece. It disappeared for decades, before it turned up at a yard sale in Phoenix, Arizona.”
Following an authentically Eighties, Kenny Loggins-penned theme song, the biopic focuses in on the film’s main plot: Trump’s persistent efforts to purchase Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal from Merv Griffin. At the five-minute mark, the audience finally encounters their first look at Depp as Trump, a startlingly nuanced impression that only an Oscar-nominated actor could deliver.
The short film also stars Patton Oswalt as Griffin, former Saturday Night Live cast member Michaela Watkins as Ivana Trump plus appearances by Henry Winkler, Jack McBrayer, Andy Richter, Alfred Molina and more.
Speaking to the New York Times about The Art of the Deal: The Movie, Funny of Die co-founder Adam McKay said, “It was a crazy, completely nuts idea that somehow we pulled off.” Depp’s scenes were shot over four days in December during a brief window in the actor’s schedule.
As for how they kept the project a secret, Funny or Die’s editor-in-chief Owen Burke said, “We had a few people sign nondisclosures, but mostly we just begged people not to say anything.” Burke also called Depp’s performance “absolutely bananas.”