There’s a hush-hush Russiagate documentary on the horizon from a director who hails from Hollywood royalty. But this one makes the case for President Trump.
Amanda Milius, daughter of legendary screenwriter-director John Milius and a State Department alum, has directed The Plot Against the President, based on Lee Smith’s 2019 best-seller of the same name.
Milius, who optioned the book in manuscript form last summer and stepped down in early March from her post as the deputy assistant secretary for content in the State Department’s Bureau of Global Public Affairs, began working on the doc in secrecy shortly thereafter. Over the past three months, she interviewed Russiagate critics including Rep. Devin Nunes, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Mike Cernovich and Roger Stone as well as Gen. Michael Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell.
Milius’ father, the screenwriter of such classics as Apocalypse Now and Dirty Harry, is such a larger-than-life figure in Hollywood that he has inspired characters in at least two films: The Big Lebowski (played by John Goodman) and Zeroville (Seth Rogen). His politics have long deviated from the industry’s centrist Democratic leanings (he and Charlton Heston served on the board of the NRA at the same time). Amanda, who attended USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and worked in the film industry for a decade, shares his pro-Trump sentiments.
“Weirdly, I’ve had random people in and out of L.A. claim my father somehow got me my job in politics when I began working for the administration, which is really odd,” she tells THR. “I never got accused of nepotism in Hollywood, which is where it lives, you’d think. But that’s definitely not what happened. I walked into a campaign office and volunteered. My dad is not buddies with the president. He loves him. But they don’t know each other. Though they would absolutely get along. Actually, my dad would make a great defense secretary. Full Dr. Strangelove energy.”
The elder Milius wasn’t involved in Plot Against the President, but his daughter says he’s excited to see it and is “very obsessed with the story as it unfolds in the news.”
The film was financed by a handful of private investors that the Washington-based director declines to name. She produced alongside Jonathan Eisenman. The production companies are Wollman Prods. and 1AMDC Prods. The producers are currently in talks with a few distributors and are planning an Oct. 1 release in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Milius says the film will offer several additional bombshells that weren’t included in the book, whose thesis is that a coup was engineered by the American establishment elite, including the media, and targeted the president as well as the democratic process. (The author is a Middle East correspondent for The Weekly Standard.)
The director, who also is the daughter of actress Celia Kaye, shot more than 70 hours of footage and is currently editing the film. She says Plot Against the President should appeal beyond conservatives and is significant to both Republicans and Democrats. In fact, a small but notable group of progressive commentators and academics including Glenn Greenwald and Stephen F. Cohen have expressed skepticism and outrage over Russiagate and the way the intelligence community conducted surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016.
“I definitely think this ought to be of extreme interest to all Americans because surveillance and law enforcement abuses are not a partisan issue,” says Milius, who also courted high-profile left-wing voices for the film. “This isn’t about the campaign. It’s not even really about the president exactly. It’s about people with power behaving badly and the destruction of democracy and American institutions.”