Johnny Depp playing Donald Trump is the kind of phrase you expect to read during awards season, especially at a time when Adam McKay is tackling the housing and banking crisis in the Oscar-nominated The Big Short. But this is no Academy contender: this is an online film, made by Funny or Die, which hit the web today without anyone expecting it.
Published to coincide with Trump’s victory in the New Hampshire presidential primary, the video popped up on Funny or Die with no advance warning or publicity.
“It was a crazy, completely nuts idea that somehow we pulled off,” Adam McKay, a co-founder of the comedy video site, told the NY Times.
The movie purports to tell the story of the billoinaire, who has it all.
“Money, power, respect, and an Eastern European bride. But all his success didn’t come for nothing. First, he inherited millions of dollars from his rich father, then he grabbed New York City by the balls,” reads the film’s official synopsis. “Now you can learn the art of negotiation, real estate, and high-quality brass in this illuminating made-for-TV special feature, Funny Or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art Of The Deal: The Movie.”
Taking its title from Trump’s 1987 book, the movie claims to have been made in the 1980s with Trump as writer, director, producer and star – until it ended up locked away in a vault. Now, Ron Howard (playing himself as the narrator) has unearthed it to show the world.
The real story is no less bizarre, with the cast includng such names as Alfred Molina, Patton Oswalt, Michaela Watkins, Henry Winkler, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Lloyd, Kristen Schaal and Andy Richter – all of whom kept their mouths shut on the project before its surprise release.
According to the Times, they spent four days in December shooting the secret project, with Owen Burke, Funny or Die’s Editor in Chief, explaining: “We had a few people sign nondisclosures, but mostly we just begged people not to say anything.”
“The plan was to move really fast because we thought Trump would go away, as least as a presidential candidate,” Burke added. “When he bizarrely didn’t go away, we had a little more time. But that meant keeping the secret for longer.”
The film runs for 50 minutes and has already amassed over 24k views. Watch it here: