Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal: The Movie” (2016) – Unveiling the Utah Connection

When it comes to the world of business and entertainment, few names are as recognizable as Donald J. Trump. From his iconic role as the host of “The Apprentice” to his controversial presidency, Trump has always made headlines. In 2016, he ventured into a new territory by releasing a movie adaptation of his best-selling book, “The Art of the Deal.” What made this venture even more intriguing was the film’s unexpected connection to the picturesque state of Utah. In this blog post, we will dive into the details of the movie, its Utah ties, and the response it received.

The Art of the Deal: The Movie – A Brief Overview

“The Art of the Deal: The Movie” is a comedy film directed by Jeremy Konner and starring Johnny Depp as Donald Trump. The movie is a satirical take on Trump’s life and career, based on his iconic book of the same name. Released in 2016, the movie was made available for free on the Funny or Die website. It was intended as a tongue-in-cheek nod to Trump’s larger-than-life personality and his unique approach to deal-making.

The film presents a fictionalized version of Trump’s life, with Depp portraying the billionaire businessman in a humorous and exaggerated manner. It features a host of celebrity cameos, including Ron Howard, Alfred Molina, and Andy Richter. The movie’s production value adds an element of authenticity, recreating the flashy and opulent style commonly associated with Trump’s brand.

The Utah Connection: Filming in the Beehive State

Despite its satirical nature, “The Art of the Deal: The Movie” carries a surprising connection to the state of Utah. The movie was predominantly filmed at the iconic Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. Known for its world-class skiing and luxurious amenities, Deer Valley provided a fitting backdrop for the over-the-top portrayal of Trump’s extravagant lifestyle.

The decision to film in Utah was not a random choice. In fact, it was driven by Johnny Depp’s close relationship with Dan Friedkin, the CEO of Gulf States Toyota and a Utah resident. Friedkin owned a residence in Deer Valley and played a vital role in securing the filming location.

Utah’s stunning natural landscapes also played a part in the decision. The state offers a diverse range of picturesque locations that can replicate various settings, making it a popular choice for filmmakers. From its soaring red rock formations in Moab to its snow-capped mountains in Park City, Utah provides a versatile canvas for cinematic storytelling.

The cooperation of the Utah Film Commission further solidified the attraction to the state. The commission offers various incentives and support to filmmakers, making Utah an attractive destination for productions of all sizes. By choosing Utah as the primary filming location for “The Art of the Deal: The Movie,” the production team also highlighted the state’s commitment to fostering the film industry.

Reception and Impact

Upon its release, “The Art of the Deal: The Movie” received mixed reviews from both critics and audiences. Some praised the film’s humor and the spot-on portrayal of Trump’s persona, while others found it to be too one-dimensional or lacking substance. As with any satirical piece, the reception was largely subjective and dependent on one’s perspective.

Despite the divided opinions, the film achieved its goal of generating buzz and capturing attention. Its release coincided with the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Donald Trump was the Republican nominee. The project garnered significant media coverage due to its unique approach to blending entertainment and politics.

While the movie may not have become a mainstream success, it did demonstrate the power of unconventional marketing strategies. By releasing the film for free on the Funny or Die website, the creators bypassed traditional distribution channels and leveraged the internet’s viral potential. This approach allowed the movie to reach a wide audience and contribute to the discussions surrounding Trump’s image and reputation.


“The Art of the Deal: The Movie” may be remembered as an experimental project that pushed the boundaries of blending entertainment and politics. Its connection to the state of Utah adds an intriguing facet to its story, showcasing the state’s role as a popular filming destination and the support it offers to the film industry.

Whether you find the movie’s satirical take on Donald J. Trump entertaining or not, there is no denying its impact on the cultural and political landscape of the time. In an era defined by unconventional approaches and unexpected twists, “The Art of the Deal: The Movie” remains a testament to the enduring appeal and polarizing nature of Donald Trump’s persona.


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