A new movie about the bloody political struggle following the death of Josef Stalin in 1953 is coming under fire for comments made by its creator comparing the Soviet strongman who killed some 3 million to President Trump.
“The Death of Stalin” has already been banned in Russia for satirizing the political fight post-Stalin, and supporters of the president are now focused on the attacks creator and director Armando Iannucci has made on Trump.
In interviews in advance of the Friday U.S. debut, Iannucci, who created the hit show “Veep,” described Trump as “quite menacing” and said he had “very much a Mussolini characteristic.”
To Atlantic, he made a direct comparison with Stalin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He told the magazine:
“We shot it pre-Trump, but when I started showing it to people, they seemed to think it was some commentary on contemporary events.
“There’s a lot in it about new narratives and old narratives, which seems to chime with ‘fake news’ and all that business. Stalin called anyone who disagreed with him an enemy of the people. Trump calls them unpatriotic and false. With people like Berlusconi and indeed Putin, and Erdoğan in Turkey—these ‘strongmen,’ as it were—it feels a little bit like the 1930s again. Things are being said now that you wouldn’t have tolerated 10 years ago.”
Asked for some examples, Iannucci added, “Well, Trump’s instinct is to call for jailing of opponents. If Saturday Night Live does an impression of him, he starts calling for NBC’s license to be looked into. For someone who is head of a party that’s all about government backing off, he’s very much for telling people what to think, what to watch, who shouldn’t be speaking out—he’s very authoritarian. The rule of law is his law, which I find quite menacing.”
It’s not the first time that Iannucci has taken shots at Trump. In an open letter to Trump in the leftist Guardian newspaper last year, the director said of POTUS “you are the worst person ever.”
Hollywood execs and public relations officials are concerned that the attacks on Trump could hurt the movie’s prospects in the U.S., which has already been released in Europe. It stars Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor and Michael Palin.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com