The Secret Of Brendan Gleeson's Donald Trump Is His Neck Wattle

Tom Nicholson
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From Esquire

And so it begins: we've just seen the first glimpse of a prestige drama rendering of Donald Trump, as played by In Bruges and Paddington 2's Brendan Gleeson. It's the neck, isn't it? That is exactly the angle that his wattle bridges his chin and his neck. What a triumph of prosthetic architecture.

Gleeson's starring as Trump in Showtime's The Comey Rule, a two-parter based on Comey's insider account of the Trump administration, A Higher Loyalty. It'll cover the Russia investigation,


This obviously isn't the first time an actor's played Trump – remember Alec Baldwin hissing like a pissed-off cat on Saturday Night Live for what felt like decades? – and a single profile silhouette isn't a great deal to base an assessment of a performance on, wattle or no wattle.

But Gleeson's Very Serious Drama Trump feels a lot like the first of a new wave. For a long time, Richard Nixon was the go-to evil president for filmmakers and actors who wanted to do a Shakespearean villain without having to learn those soliloquies with the sentences that go backwards. He had his own show-stopping prosthetic too, actually: a bit of chin-putty and a gigantic nose with a bulbous bum-end on the tip.

Now that the world's got a new Worst President Ever, actors will presumably want their crack at getting underneath the toupée. Gleeson's Winston Churchill in Into the Storm was a melancholy, brooding, pugnacious beast, but Churchill was also a complex, contradictory human being with at least a very broad understanding of morality. Trump, you suspect, will be a much more tricky subject to imbue with any light and shade.

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