Porn star Stormy Daniels has been in the news a lot lately, even as she hasn’t been able to speak up. Pre-election, the actress spoke at length with In Touch, where she offered a detailed account of an alleged affair with the future president after meeting him at a golf tournament (“I can describe his junk perfectly”). Reports that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohn, paid Daniels $130,000 during the election to sign a non-disclosure agreement help explain why Daniels has remained quiet about the affair, even during a coy Jimmy Kimmel appearance when she danced around questions about her relationship with Trump.
That seems to have changed, in the wake of Trump’s lawyer saying that he personally paid Daniels to keep quiet and Daniels’ agent claiming that his declaration invalidates the NDA. “Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story,” Daniels’ agent told the AP.
In post-“Boogie Nights” and “The Deuce” era, the saga of Stormy Daniels is one readymade for the movies, but the unlikely rise of this child of divorce, a former Baton Rouge stripper who rocketed to the AVN Hall of Fame years before this latest chapter, requires a keen eye for the interplay of salacious media drama and eccentric larger-than-life figures. As the Stormy story gains traction, we’ve got some ideas for the people best suited to step behind the camera.
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Hire “I, Tonya” director Craig Gillespie, and reteam him with Margot Robbie as Stormy Daniels. Of course, they’ve already created one story of a young woman who transcends her background to become famous and later enacts her revenge, but Daniels’ rise as a self-made porn star and director would make for a tremendous arc. In some respects, she’s also a sharper creation than Tonya Harding, whose physical skills often outstripped her sense of judgment. While many would question Daniels’ own decisions, she’s never lacked for self awareness. When asked if her breasts are “really hers,” her favorite response is, “Yep. I bought them myself.” —Dana Harris
Breillat’s ability to shock us, particularly with her blunt exploration of female sexuality, has always been one of her sharpest tools. With Daniels’ story in the hands of a capable female director, Daniels’ story could take an empowering turn, allowing the adult film star to take control of her own narrative. There’s a dark underbelly to the porn industry that’s been explored before, but it’s an area that could use the frankness of a female voice. In the wake of #MeToo, Daniels’ story could carry extra weight as it undoubtedly expands beyond just her possible interactions with the president. —Jamie Righetti
Brian De Palma
If anyone can turn the Stormy Daniels scandal into something unforgettable on the big screen, it’s got to be Brian De Palma. The director perfected the art of the erotic thriller in films such as “Body Double” and “Dressed to Kill,” and his touch of heightened sensuality would really make the story about the shady dealings between an arrogant businessman and a porn star pop. Just imagine the meeting between Daniels and Trump with De Palma’s crooked angles, sharp editing, salacious dialogue, and suggestive lighting. He’d give the story the wicked sensationalism it deserves while going for the jugular by criticizing every viewer’s fascination with it in the first place. Trump wouldn’t stand a chance against De Palma. —Zack Sharf
The Russo Brothers
What better way to follow up the war that destroys the Marvel Universe than the porn star who could destroy the American Democracy? This film would have it all: NDAs, bad wigs, and a flyover appearance by Iron Man. With “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” he Russos proved they are more than capable of piecing together a taught spy thriller, and there seem to be plenty of underhanded deals surrounding Daniels’ story, not to mention that whole little issue of Russia possibly tampering in the election. There’s a lot we don’t know yet regarding Daniels’ story, but the Russos know how to weave lots of details into one big compelling drama. —JR
Campion has always excelled at telling women’s stories, especially the tough ones, the strange ones, and the ones that aren’t necessarily given over to easy moral decisions. Her recent work on the “Top of the Lake” series also speaks keenly to her sensitivity to telling stories about sex workers and sexual trauma, a necessary ask in order to ensure a project that’s not the kind of cheap and salacious cash-grab that most would expect from such an adaptation. And, quite frankly, a non-American filmmaker could provide the kind of distance and objectivity that U.S. storytellers might not able to work with (at least at this current juncture). A gritty, real, feminist telling of Stormy’s story? That’s pure Campion. —Kate Erbland
One recurring theme reverberating through Sofia Coppola’s work is how the ultra-wealthy struggle with a sense of self-worth and identity, and who better to deliver a gorgeous, feminist take on Stormy’s tales of Trump’s opulent private life and insecurities? Substitute the pops of color in “Marie Antoinette” for all-gold-everything, and you’ve got a perfect canvas of a hollow man surrounded by riches. Stormy’s eagerness to move into powerful circles is not far removed from the fame-hungry antiheroes in “The Bling Ring,” and couple that with the existential emptiness of rich celeb Johnny Marco in “Somewhere,” and your motivations are set. Lastly, how easy is it to visualize recasting “Lost in Translation” with Trump and Stormy? Two lonely people in a hotel room has never been so haunting. -William Earl
Paul Thomas Anderson
I mean, obviously. Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” was a quintessential look at the exuberant porn industry of ‘70s that begs for a modern-day update with a strong female character. Daniels’ story is a perfect window into that, one that reveals the bizarre intersection of wealth and personality that is so often at the root of Anderson’s storytelling. “Phantom Thread” also proved that Anderson excels at writing a battle of the sexes, as the testy throwdowns between Reynolds and Alma offered a punchy vision of a young woman standing up to a powerful man. That seems to have been the case with Stormy, as well. —Eric Kohn
It’s impossible to predict what the French provocateur would do with the Stormy Daniels story, which is what makes it so much fun to imagine. The daring mind behind “Swimming Pool,” “Young and Beautiful,” and his latest, “Double Lover,” would bring an artful complexity to the unfolding scandal. He would have to get over his love of pouty waifs, having used Marine Vacth in two most recent films, but it would be fascinating to see Ozon’s precise symmetrical framing filled in with a flashy blonde American. As a Frenchman, Ozon would surely to throw in a healthy dose of criticism of the U.S., rendering a disturbing erotic thriller out of the country’s most shameful open secret. —Jude Dry
He needed just eight days to write the Palme d’Or-worthy “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” — that alone guarantees that the now Oscar-winning director (“Traffic”) could do wonders with the tale of a president-bedding porn star, a story presumably ready for the writing right now. But Soderbergh also helmed “The Girlfriend Experience” and “Magic Mike,” proving that it doesn’t matter if his subjects are women or men, he’ll delve into the psyches of all professionals profiting off their bodies; anyone engaging in taboo, fringe activities is ripe for depiction with jump cuts and protracted close-ups. Maybe Stormy Daniels is the challenge he’s been waiting for since chronicling another real-life crusader once cast aside for her looks, gender, and perceived lack of smarts: Erin Brockovich. -Jenna Marotta