There's only one thing better than being hired as Donald Trump's newest apprentice, and that's playing The Donald himself in a TV movie about his life. Justin Louis of Lifetime's Missing — who happens to be 5-foot-9 and of Portuguese descent — was told "You're hired!" after auditioning to play the 6-foot-3, WASP-y fat cat in ABC's Trump: Unauthorized. It airs at 9 pm/ET tonight and, thankfully, there's no Omarosa in sight!
Did Louis have to stand on crates during the entire shoot to match Trump's stature? "They made me walk around in these club kid-esque boots to make me taller," he tells TVGuide.com with a laugh. "I did wear them to the Missing set recently, so I [had] some fun with [my costar] Mark Consuelos. I walked right up to him and looked down on him. He laughed his ass off! Mark and [his wife] Kelly [Ripa] were at [Trump's] wedding to Melania, and Kelly was very sweet and generous when she learned I'd been hired. She broke the news on Live with Regis and Kelly. That was fun."
Based on Gwenda Blair's acclaimed biographies, Unauthorized follows the Trumpster's life from ages 28 to 40, tracing his rise from toiling for his father's real-estate business to his current role as America's most celebrated mogul-turned-reality-television star. Costarring Katheryn Winnick (CSI: Miami; Oz) as Ivana, Jennifer Baxter as Marla, and Richard Portnow as former Mayor Ed Koch, the teleplay promises to pack as much punch as an Apprentice boardroom firing.
Still, it won't address the biggest Trump mystery to date: Is that a hairpiece, a comb-over, or is Donald just happy to see us? "Apparently, it's his real hair," Louis says. "Can you believe it? And of course, I, like him, used my real hair. I grew it out while on hiatus [from Missing]."
Mimicking Trump's mannerisms would be challenging (and fun) for any actor. However, says Louis, "I [wanted] to find out what makes this guy tick from the inside out. Anytime I see an actor rely solely on doing an impression, [they're] dead in the water.
"It was kind of a blessing that I only had four days to prepare for this thing," he continues. "It's not like I was in Jamie Foxx's position, where I was playing the piano with Ray Charles for months. We shot [Trump: Unauthorized] in 22 days — six-day, 105-hour work weeks. My research consisted of [watching] an A&E Biography and some early interviews in [Trump's] forties. I did come up with [a method] for his sound: In his twenties, he sounded like Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon but, by the end of the movie, I evolved it into an aggressive, louder accent. If you watch The Apprentice, you'll notice there's a little Sopranos influence there. He's street smart."