Who should direct Donald Trump: the Movie? Step forward, Werner Herzog


With his yen for monomaniacal oddballs and love of an unhappy ending, the German film-maker is surely the perfect person to tackle a Trump biopic

As we inch towards day 100 of his ignoble reign, it is becoming increasingly clear that Donald Trump is going to remain president of the United States for a fair while yet (bar a sudden and unlikely show of courage from Republican politicians). Which means at some point well have to start thinking about those big questions around the legacy of POTUS 45. What, for example, will a Trump presidential library look like? Will it contain three books or four? Which of the faces on Mount Rushmore is Trump going to replace with his own visage? And most importantly of all, for film fans at least who will direct Trump: The Movie?

Because make no mistake, there will be a Trump movie. Were only a few months into his presidency and already HBO have announced that a miniseries about his election win is in the works. From cable news to late-night chat shows, television has turned the Trump presidency into a licence to print money, which you have to imagine is attracting envious glances from the film industry. Surely its not a question of if but when and of who should direct it.

Certainly, there is no shortage of people who could lay claim to being the best auteur for the job of depicting the Donald. Michael Bay would surely capture the explosive bombast of the man plus he seems to love trucks as much as Trump himself. Oliver Stone, meanwhile, has already tackled three different presidents in JFK, Nixon and George W Bush, and his paranoid style looks well-matched to the conspiracy-theorising of the current presidency. Kathryn Bigelow looks best suited to illustrate the bruising results of Trumps foreign-policy follies. (This is the man who wants to seize Iraqs oil, lest we forget.) Mike Judge is often cited as the director whose work most eerily predicted Trumps rise with his film Idiocracy. Christopher Nolan has the dubious honour of having possibly inspired the rhetoric of Trumps own inauguration speech. And then there are the film-makers who could claim unique insight into Trumps mindset, having directed the man himself in such cinematic titans as Home Alone 2, Little Rascals and of course Ghosts Can Do It.

Cinematic titan Donald Trump in Home Alone 2 Photograph: YouTube

In my opinion though, theres only one director who could really pull off a Trump biopic, and thats Werner Herzog. The austere German director is more than qualified. Consider the evidence. The temptation with a Trump film would be to make it polemical, and amp up his grotesque nature. The thing is, weve had an awful lot of that already. Would another depiction of Trump as a one-dimensional monster really add anything? What we need is someone who treats Trump with clinical detachment. Herzog tends to approach his subjects in the manner of a lepidopterist pinning butterflies to a board, and Trump would be no different, judging by an interview the director gave with Rolling Stone last week.

Hes the first time you have a real independent, Herzog said. Hes turned against the Republican party, and hes vehemently against the media, justifiably so to some degree, and I find this a very significant novelty. Its mysterious how Trump is getting away with literally everything. I see it with great, strange fascination. Very, very unusual.

Would have made a cracking Trump Klaus Kinski in Herzogs Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Photograph: AFP

Herzogs fascination with Trump is unsurprising, because in a sense hes been making films about people like him for much of his career. Herzog has always had a preoccupation with wild, often irrational ambition, particularly in his collaborations with Klaus Kinski who would have made a cracking Trump, FYI. Glimpses of the presidents defining characteristics can be seen in the protagonists of Aguirre, the Wrath of God, or Fitzcarraldo. Trump is precisely the sort of person to have a steamship dragged up the side of a mountain, you suspect.

Another of Herzogs recurring cinematic themes mans fierce battle with nature would apply quite well to Trump too, given the potentially devastating ideological war hes currently waging on the planet by dismantling environmental regulations, elevating climate change deniers to prominent cabinet positions and even deleting scientific data relating to global warming in the Arctic. Herzog has witnessed the results of such wrongheadedness firsthand in his documentary Encounters at the End of the World, so hed be well-placed to depict the destruction Trump is likely to wreak.

And, of course, Herzog loves an unhappy ending, from Woyzeck to Aguirre to The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, and theres a fair chance of one of those for Trump or for the rest of us – at the conclusion of this presidency (though its unlikely hell get eaten by a bear, a la Grizzly Man). So, yes, Herzog is the only choice of director for our Trump biopic. Now we just need someone to star in it. Nicolas Cage, anyone?

Read more: www.theguardian.com


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