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Matt Damon Explains Why Donald Trump Has So Many Movie Cameos

Home Alone 2 Donald Trump
20th Century Fox

Have you ever scrolled through Donald Trump’s IMDb page? Owing to his background as a New York City socialite, Trump has appeared as himself in many talk shows and entertainment news segments; at last count, Trump has approximately 266 appearances in movies and televisions shows ranging from Late Night With David Letterman to his many, many appearances on the various iterations of The Howard Stern Show. What’s more interesting, however, are his appearances that fall under the ‘actor’ category. How did Trump continue to pop into shows like Spin City and Sex and the City despite his questionable reputation among New Yorkers?

Well, wonder no more. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter promoting his new movie Suburbicon, Matt Damon explained on of the unwritten rules of Hollywood that allowed Trump to appear in so many films:

The deal was that if you wanted to shoot in one of his buildings, you had to write him in a part. Martin Brest had to write something in Scent of a Woman  —  and the whole crew was in on it. You have to waste an hour of your day with a bulls–t shot: Donald Trump walks in and Al Pacino’s like, ‘Hello, Mr. Trump!’  —  you had to call him by name  —  and then he exits. You waste a little time so that you can get the permit, and then you can cut the scene out. But I guess in Home Alone 2 they left it in.

So there it is: if you wanted to use a Trump property in your movie, you had to film a (fake) scene with the man himself. Honestly, I kind of admire the man’s instincts for self-promotion. When you own a handful of the most recognizable buildings in Manhattan, you’re not exactly short on negotiation leverage; why not use this to force your way into a movie scene or two? Of course, there’s also Newsweek’s horror stories of what it was like to like to work with Trump once you’d committed to him on a film. I guess that explains why more movies weren’t set inside Trump properties.

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