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It's time for a bit of levity in the US presidential primary contest season — and Johnny Depp and the comedians at the humor website Funny or Die deliver with a biopic spoof on Donald Trump. Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie was released to coincide with Trump's victory in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary. But Trump's character, played by Depp, doesn't come across as very presidential.
The brash, relentlessly hustling truth-twister compares the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City that he wants to buy to the real thing. He saw a picture of the Taj in India when he was a kid. "It was yuuuge," he recalls, "easily the classiest thing ever built by a Muslim."
The movie follows his advice on how to be successful, including tips on how to intimidate rent-controlled tenants and how to defeat "totally bogus discrimination lawsuits. Successful people are always on the phone — even if there's no one on the other end," the fake Trump lectures a boy in one scene.
He says success began when he used his time at business school learning how to be a real estate mogul. While "other kids were busy smoking reefers and contracting herpes in Saigon I was studying foreclosure notices," says Trump in the film.
He moans that he started with nothing "but the shirt on my back and a small million-dollar loan from my father; there was barely enough to buy a small building on Central Park South."
The phony biopic takes its title from Trump's 1987 best-selling business advice book. Ron Howard stars in the movie intro, claiming to have unearthed a lost biopic of Trump from the 1980s that he discovered at a yard sale. The movie's star, writer, producer, editor and director are all listed as Donald J. Trump.
At one point the perfectly coiffed Depp is joined by his one-time wife, Ivanka, played by Michaela Watkins of Saturday Night Live and New Girl. Other actors include Alfred Molina, Henry Winkler and Jason Tremblay.
"It was a crazy, completely nuts idea that somehow we pulled off," Funny or Dies co-founder and director of The Big Short Adam McKay told the New York Times. "With any luck" the video will annoy the candidate, he added.
Funny or Die's editor in chief Owen Burke called Depp's performance "absolutely bananas," adding: "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." The complete 50-minute movie is available here.