- Michael Moore says Fahrenheit 11/9 is ‘beginning of the end for Trump’
- Ahead of premiere, documentary maker also claims presidency bid was sparked by jealousy of Gwen Stefani’s TV pay packet
As his new film Fahrenheit 11/9 premieres at the Toronto film festival, and with the US mid-term elections only weeks away, documentary-maker Michael Moore issued a call to arms, declaring “the beginning of the end of for Donald J Trump”.
In a note on his website, Moore described his new film as a “siren call” to “a despairing, dispirited public who must – MUST – do its job and end the madness at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”.
He added: “I have spent the better part of this year constructing a film that will not only explain how the @#&% we ended up with Trump, but also help show us the way out. I must warn you – I do not pull ANY punches in the film. No one is spared – not even me.”
Moore also made an extraordinary claim in a Hollywood Reporter interview that Trump’s presidential run was an attempt to prove his popularity – triggered by jealousy that, in 2015, NBC had offered pop singer Gwen Stefani a larger fee to appear on The Voice than it was paying him for The Apprentice. Moore said: “He’d been talking about running for president since 1988, but he didn’t really want to be president. There’s no penthouse in the White House. And he doesn’t want to live in a black city. He was trying to pit NBC against another network, but it just went off the rails.”
Fahrenheit 11/9 takes its title from the date when President Trump’s victory in the 2016 election was confirmed (voting took place the day before, on 8 November), and references the title of his 2004 blockbuster documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, which took aim at the Bush family for their alleged links to the Bin Ladens’.
Early reviews of Fahrenheit 11/9 suggest that Moore uses the Flint water crisis to show how civil safeguards are being eroded by Republican freebooters, He claims that Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan, engineered a virtual coup d’état by instituting “emergency management” that sidelined elected officials after Flint’s water supply was polluted by an unnecessary but profitable new pipeline.
Moore also suggests that Trump is the figurehead of an attempt to destroy democracy in the US: his speeches are compared to Adolf Hitler’s to argue that the same social passivity that allowed dictators to legally seize power in the 1930s is blunting opposition today.
Moore also describes the media complicity that raised Trump’s public profile, including his own contact with the president and his family: appearing on Roseanne with Donald and having Jared Kushner throw a launch party for his health-crisis documentary Sicko.
Moore was one of the few liberal figures to predict Trump’s victory in 2016. He has previously taken direct aim at the president with the film ‘TrumpLand’, released in October, as well the Broadway show The Terms of My Surrender.
Fahrenheit 9/11, which was released three years after the World Trade Centre attacks, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival and remains the highest-grossing documentary of all time at the US box office, with receipts of over $119m.
Moore’s previous films have focused on US gun culture in the 2002 film Bowling for Columbine, which won an Oscar for best documentary; the 2008 economic meltdown in Capitalism: A Love Story; and the human impact of corporate ruthlessness in Roger & Me, his award-winning debut from 1989.
Moore had begun work on Fahrenheit 11/9 before its existence was revealed in May 2017; at that point it was being enthusiastically backed by the Weinstein Company. Months later Moore was forced to shut down production on the film after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke and funding failed to arrive. Moore told the Hollywood Reporter: “We laid off everybody and had to bury the film.”
He says the delay changed the nature of the film, which was originally focused on Trump’s incompetence. “‘Ha-ha, we got a doofus in the White House and don’t worry because he’s not going to be able to get anything done.’ Well, that film should have been buried. Because now we know what Trump really is and all the promises he’s kept to his class.”