Doomcasting the Trump Trial: Who Would Play These People on TV?

Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty
Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty

Donald Trump’s hush money trial is a historic landmark of great national and electoral significance. This marks the first time a former U.S. president has been tried for a crime, and whatever decision the jury makes will almost certainly influence the 2024 presidential election. At the same time, as an entertainment writer, I can’t help but wonder... Who will play all of these people in the inevitable TV and/or movie adaptation?

These days, the turnaround time for real-life events becoming media properties is shorter than ever. If we don’t get a Bombshell-esque treatment of the Trump-Stormy Daniels saga within the next two years, I’ll go ahead and eat my hat along with the “Press” card I keep tucked inside its ribbon.

Usually, when we come up with casting ideas for things like this, we’d call it “dreamcasting,” but given where we’re at, as well as, well, everything else about this trial and its implications, the term “doomcasting” might be more appropriate. Either way, here are our picks for the heavy foundation-and-wig treatment.

Donald Trump: Anthony Atamanuik

A photo including Anthony Atamanuik

Anthony Atamanuik

John Sciulli / Getty

Atamanuik has been perfecting his Trump impression for years. In 2015, he and comedian James Adomian debuted their satirical comedy show “Trump vs. Bernie,” and in 2017, Atamanuik brought his impersonation to Comedy Central for The President Show, which aired 20 episodes and 4 specials. Atamanuik has Trump down pat—from his elastic facial expressions to his blustery voice. Plenty of actors can convincingly pull off the former president’s look with enough spray tan and fuzzy orange hair, but Atamanuik knows how to embody him better than any of those haters and losers ever could.

Stormy Daniels: Krysten Ritter

A photo of Krysten Ritter

Krysten Ritter

Paul Archuleta / Getty

Before you boo me off the stage, please take a moment to picture Krysten Ritter in a blonde wig. She’s a dead ringer for Stormy, the adult film actress whom the president allegedly schtupped and paid off years later. The former Jessica Jones actress also has the right spiky attitude to play Stormy up as more than just a comedic figure. In her hands, Stormy would have the power and snark that she deserves.

Justice Juan Merchan: Jaime Camil

A photo of Jaime Camil

Jaime Camil

Gilbert Flores / Getty

There’s been no love lost between Trump and Judge Merchan during this trial, and while Merchan has been described as “no-nonsense,” I believe the hammy Jane the Virgin actor Jaime Camil could make a meal out of this role on screen. What is this trial, after all, if not a long, government-themed telenovela?

Todd Blanche: Ike Barinholtz

A photo of Ike Barinholtz

Ike Barinholtz

Randy Shropshire / Getty

Not many actors in Hollywood share Trump’s defense attorney’s resting Republican face, but Ike Barinholtz could definitely fake it—he just needs to commit to glaring hard enough to give himself frown lines. As an alternative, I would also consider Steve Carell.

Joshua Steinglass: Eric Stonestreet

A photo of Eric Stonestreet

Eric Stonestreet

Weiss Eubanks / NBCUniversal / Getty

As for Trump’s (probably) Least Favorite Prosecutor of the Week, what if we tried Eric Stonestreet? Yes, he’s cultivated a cozier persona on Modern Family, but I believe that this man also has the range to play a hard-hitting prosecutor whose closing statement apparently took six hours.

Melania Trump: Laura Benanti

A photo of Laura Benanti

Laura Benanti

Bruce Glikas / Getty

This one probably goes without saying, but if we’re really going to make any adaptation of this godforsaken trial, Benanti has to play Melania. The former FLOTUS might be a master of steely unknowability, but Benanti’s impression—honed through years of practice on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show—animates (what we’d imagine to be) her innermost self. Also, it’s just very, very funny. As a fellow Laura, I am prepared to riot if Benanti does not get this part.

Michael Cohen: David Schwimmer

A photo of David Schwimmer

David Schwimmer

Dia Dipasupil / Getty

Trump’s former lawyer and fixer might’ve been the toughest man to cast from this motley crew. Whoever takes this role has to know how to frown from the depths of his soul—to crumple his face into such an image of destitution that it makes a person wonder if they’ve ever felt joy. Who better for the task than David Schwimmer, whose time on Friends became synonymous with his forlorn delivery of the word, “hiiiii.” We all saw how Schwimmer disappeared into the role of Robert Kardashian in Ryan Murphy’s inaugural American Crime Story season, and I’d wager that he’d be just as incredible here. That said, nothing will ever top watching him say “Juice” dozens of times per episode.

David Pecker: Billy Crudup

A photo of Billy Crudup

Billy Crudup

Jeff Spicer / Getty

The grand lord of sleazy supermarket tabloids testified in April about his “great, mutually beneficial relationship” with Trump. He said that in 2015, after Trump had announced his presidency, he met with both Trump and Cohen to discuss an arrangement in which he would allow Trump’s camp to “catch and kill” any negative stories that came Pecker’s way concerning the presidential hopeful while also running negative coverage of his Republican rivals for the nomination. Look at this man’s face for a minute and tell me that he doesn’t look exactly like Billy Crudup with a mustache and a graying wig. Crudup already plays a slimeball on The Morning Show, and something tells me he’d knock this one out of the park.

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