Why Armando Iannucci turned down 12 offers to make Trump film about a joke he tweeted

Wednesday 06 November 2019 10:30
Showbiz
(Getty / Twitter)

In September of last year, Veep and The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci casually tweeted a joke about Donald Trump that he didn’t expect to get half as much attention as it did.

As with many things in these scary modern times, it all began with a tweet, specifically one in which the satirist proposed the following film idea:

Film pitch.. Trump drugged and moved to a replica Whitehouse, where he carries on thinking he’s governing. Millions spent on hiring actors to play his staff, Senators, news anchors, people at rallies. There you go. Studios, your highest bid please.

The tweet immediately went viral, with over 14k retweets to date and people were very much into the idea.

There were even people suggesting possible titles and plot moments.

Unsurprisingly it didn't take long for Hollywood bigwigs to catch wind of the idea and within days, Deadline revealed, Iannucci had quite a few offers on the table from U.S. studios.

At a conference on Tuesday in London, he revealed that he got 12 offers in total, but would not be taking a single one.

While some may be disappointed, I’m sure you can appreciate his reasoning. “I just didn’t want to spend a year with Donald Trump.” he joked.

Putting it another way, Iannucci explained, Trump is beyond satire and impossible to exaggerate:

The problem I have with Donald Trump is that satire or comedy is about exaggeration, distortion… But that’s what Donald Trump does. When he talked about finding [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi… it was like this jazz riff on nothing. He is providing his own entertainment, he’s obsessed with ratings. That’s what he is, a salesman. He’s a self-basing satirist. He is parodying himself.

The comedians who have had the most [joy] on addressing somebody like Trump are the ones who have become kind of like journalists, like John Oliver. They have a team of researchers who go through the archives, so instead of making jokes about Trump, they… feel like they have to provide some kind of argument, some kind of essay behind it. It’s almost like Trump is the comedian and the comedians have become the journalists.

He also added that he found the speed at which he received the offers unsettling.

“The fact you can tweet something and within 24 hours people can be making these quite strategically momentous decisions about what their studios are going to make actually slightly scared me,” said Iannucci.

That said, he did close by saying that he would reconsider in “30 years” or so when the unrelenting US president is long gone and we've all had time to recover. Sounds fair.

H/T: Deadline

More: Trump’s 2020 campaign ad looked like a movie trailer and got taken down for copyright infringement

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