Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 isn’t the only documentary here in Toronto that is highly critical of the American president. Buyers in the documentary space have been watching Where Is My Roy Cohn?, a completed docu by Matt Tyrnauer about the feared lawyer whose polarizing, brass-knuckle strategies set the stage for the rise of Donald Trump.
The pic covers Cohn’s early days as right-hand man to Sen. Joseph McCarthy to his growth into the quintessential New York City power broker and attorney for myriad clients who included mobsters and the future U.S. president. In a sizzle reel viewed by Deadline, Cohn’s abilities are called “dark arts,” and his work ranges from being prosecuting the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg espionage trial and later serving as the voice whispering in the ear of Sen. McCarthy’s televised Communist witch hunts.
Trump met Cohn in the 1970s, when the real estate businessman and his father Fred Trump were being sued by the Justice Department for housing discrimination against African-American tenants. Cohn’s advice to his young protégé: “Tell them to go to hell, and fight the thing in court.” They sued the Justice Department for $100 million and ultimately settled without admitting wrongdoing.
Trump learned the value of never admitting wrongdoing, and the film argues that Cohn paved the way for the man in the White House. Endeavor Content is selling it, and Tyrnauer and Corey Reeser produced through Altimeter Films.