‘Death of Stalin’ Director Slams Trump as ‘Quite Menacing,’ ‘Chilling’

March 7th, 2018 6:45 PM

Ever since Donald Trump was elected President during November of 2016, people in the entertainment industries across America have bashed the Republican official in no uncertain terms.

However, on Wednesday, Armando Iannucci -- a Scottish-born satirist and director of the new film The Death of Stalin -- went farther than most entertainers in the U.S. have been willing to go regarding the GOP occupant of the White House, declaring him and his policies “quite menacing” and “chilling.”

In an article written by our friend Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner:

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 three 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 [the] creator and director ... has made on Trump.

“In interviews in advance of the … U.S. debut [on Friday, March 9], Iannucci -- who created the [Home Box Office program] Veep -- said Trump has ‘very much a … characteristic’” like Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

Bedard drew from comments made by Iannucci during an interview with The Atlantic's Julia Ioffe for the magazine's March issue.

The director said he “was thinking of a fictional movie about a contemporary dictator, fantasizing about what might happen next in today’s world.”

“But then this French company called Quad came with this graphic novel, The Death of Stalin, which was quite popular in France, based on true incidents,” Iannucci noted.

“Why bother with fiction when this true story is bizarre and funny and scary at the same time?” he added before explaining that he and his crew “shot it pre-Trump, but when I started showing it to people, they seemed to think it was some commentary on contemporary events.”


The director also claimed: “There’s a lot in it about new narratives and old narratives, which seems to chime with ‘fake news’ and all that business.”

Iannucci then stated that “Stalin called anyone who disagreed with him an enemy of the people. Trump calls them unpatriotic and false.”

Asked for some examples, the director continued: “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.”

Since Iannucci wasn’t asked to verify that claim, he went on: “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.”

“I have always said that if you’re doing political comedy, don’t expect it to change people’s opinion or how they vote,” the director stated. “To do that, you have to become a journalist or an activist or a politician.”

However, the Scottish-born liberal responded to a question about his HBO show by indicating: “I’m relieved I stopped before Trump -- I’d find it very difficult to do fiction set in the world of government while what’s happening in reality is far more absurd.”

Regarding the Republican President, Iannucci added:

The thing I found most chilling was Trump’s Cabinet meeting where he got the cameras in and went around making everyone say how good he was.

That self-absorption was very much a Mussolini characteristic.

When Ioffe asked why Russian officials “see artists as so threatening,” the director replied: “Always beware of politicians who can’t take a joke. … The humorless politicians are the most dangerous ones, I think.”

Later, Ioffe concluded the interview by asking: “Is there anything else you want to say to our readers?”

Iannucci replied energetically: “God help us all!”