Nikki Finke has long been Hollywood’s greatest enigma: a mysterious blogger who, via her Deadline Hollywood website, breaks insider news and spews vitriolic opinions about the town’s power players, all from the comfort of her secret Los Angeles home. (Finke doesn’t do lunches and few people have seen what she looks like today. The one photo that floats around the Internet is at least 20 years old.) But in the past month she and her boss, Jay Penske, who bought Deadline in 2009 and broadened the site from a one-woman operation into a trade publication, ended their business relationship in a very public — and nasty — feud.
The result is a Finke-free Deadline.com and a promise by the notorious blogger to start her own thing all over again in January at NikkiFinke.com.
The entire scenario is rife for satire, and the folks at Funny or Die have chosen to take it on, unveiling today a 2 1/2-minute trailer that imagines Finke, played by Jean Smart, at the center of an espionage-style thriller. Smart plays Finke as a devoted mother and wife hiding her true occupation as a notorious blogger.
Watch the video below.
The trailer’s creators, writer/director Jody Lambert (People Like Us) and writer/actor Matt Oberg (Ugly Americans), used the Naomi Watts-starrer Fair Game as inspiration for the fake trailer.
“We felt like Nikki should be the hero of an exciting espionage Internet journalism thriller,” Lambert tells EW. “The kind where everyone is a bad guy and you don’t know where to turn.”
The duo had just one day, and the office space of Funny or Die’s headquarters, to film the piece, which features a cameo from Christina Applegate and some impressive work by Oberg as a wounded junior talent agent. Smart’s real-life husband plays her spouse, while Army Wives actor Drew Fuller portrays Penske, as a maniacal, deadly billionaire.
Both Lambert and Oberg have a fondness for Finke and Deadline, a site that has figured prominently in their own careers.
“Both times I was cast in network pilots, I found out from Deadline before my agents were able to call,” Oberg says with a laugh. “And I found out both times they were not being picked up — also from Deadline.”
The end goal for the duo may feel a bit pie in the sky, but in Hollywood, anything goes.
“The ideal scenario is we get funding to make the movie,” Oberg says with a wink.
And who knows, maybe Nikki will back them…