LOS ANGELES • Johnny Depp has played a loopy pirate, a mad hatter and a demon barber. But will he be a convincing Donald Trump?
Humour website Funny Or Die on Wednesday began streaming a 50-minute faux documentary the morning after Trump's resounding victory on Tuesday night placed the presidential candidate firmly back atop the Republican field of White House contenders.
Kept secret during production, Funny Or Die Presents Donald Trump's The Art Of The Deal: The Movie is presented as a long-lost celluloid treasure written and directed decades ago by the real estate and casino magnate himself.
The 1980s-styled parody stars an almost unrecognisable Depp in heavy make-up including the trademark comb-over, set to music by the era's soundtrack star Kenny Loggins, whose credits include Top Gun and Footloose.
The tycoon-turned-politician says at the opening that at the age of 10, he saw a photo that changed his life: a child standing in front of the Taj Mahal, India's famous mausoleum.
"So I vowed that day to buy my own Taj Mahal," he says. "Thirty years later, I got my chance. This one was even classier because it was a casino and it was in a place way more beautiful than India - New Jersey."
At the movie's outset, a narrator - played by director Ron Howard - presents the comedy as a televised adaptation of Trump's best-selling book The Art Of The Deal, published in 1987.
Trump's character at one point claims The Art Of The Deal to be the world's second best-selling book of all time after the Bible, "which required 12 guys to write, and you know what? It's boring".
In the movie, Howard says that the prime-time special, originally set to air in September 1988, was bumped after a football game went into overtime, pre-empting the movie. A furious Trump pulled the programme and vowed never to air it again. Howard tells viewers he came upon a videotape copy last summer in a Phoenix, Arizona yard sale.
Funny Or Die, whose co-founders include actor Will Ferrell and The Big Short director Adam McKay, has reeled in well-known stars to feature in its productions. The Trump parody cast also includes Alfred Molina, Henry Winkler, Jacob Tremblay and Michaela Watkins - from the Fox sitcom New Girl - as Ivana Trump.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW YORK TIMES