There’s a reasonable chance Kirk Cousins’s final appearance in a Washington Redskins jersey will be alongside a Donald Trump impersonator in a commercial for gas fireplaces that premieres while Nick Foles is leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl title. Somehow, that isn’t fake news.
With his future in Washington in doubt, Cousins, who could become the NFL’s highest-paid player this offseason, arrived outside the White House in frigid temperatures Thursday morning to shoot a 30-second spot for Virginia-based Cyprus Air.
“He just walked right up,” said character actor John Di Domenico, whose award-winning Trump impersonation has kept him quite busy over the past couple years. “I’m like, ‘This guy is a multimillionaire, and there’s nobody with him.’ He was really great, and he really wanted to get everything right and make sure he was hitting each beat properly.”
You might recognize Di Domenico as Trump from his appearances on “Conan” or from one of his feature-length films, including “Not Another Celebrity Movie” and “Meet the Spartans,” or even last year’s Super Bowl ad for Cyprus Air. The spot, which aired in the D.C. metro area, co-starred Redskins great Joe Jacoby and has been viewed more than 840,000 times on YouTube. Cyprus Air made its Super Bowl debut a year earlier with a bloody commercial featuring an ax-wielding Jacoby advising a guy who cut off three of his fingers while chopping wood to buy a gas fireplace.
“It was definitely well received,” Cyprus Air co-owner Peter Demetriou said of last year’s ad, which included mentions of Russia, hand size and yuge sales. “We’re not out to upset anyone one way or another. We have respect for everyone. We’re trying to have some harmless humor.”
Demetriou reached out to Cousins’s camp about appearing in this year’s ad, which will air between the third and fourth quarter, about a month ago.
“A lot of our customers were kind of asking us if we were going to do a Part 2,” Demetriou said. “People were practically demanding it, so it felt like the right thing to do. He was excited to do it.”
Cousins, who shared an Instagram video from Thursday’s shoot, sparked headlines in June when he joined Trump for a round of golf at one of the president’s clubs in Bedminster, N.J. The quarterback explained how the opportunity came about during a lengthy interview with Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop.
“I got an invite,” Cousins told Bishop. “I thought somebody was pranking me. . . . Look, if it had been any president — far left, far right, middle — I was going to go. That’s the president of the United States. If any other former president would love to play golf, I’m open to it. Let me know.”
Di Domenico, who is working on a recorded bit with comedian Jill Soloway called “Late Night Phone Calls with Trump,” among his other current projects, has been impersonating Trump since 2004. He made his first on-camera appearance on “Fox and Friends” two years later and has been bombarded with requests to appear as Trump since the former star of “The Apprentice” announced his decision to run for president.
Di Domenico, 55, was impressed with his co-star’s acting chops and attention to detail.
“He was great,” Di Domenico said of Cousins, whose portfolio of endorsement deals includes Easterns Motors and Virginia Tire & Auto. “The guy’s so nice. Honestly, I was kind of amazed that we got him. We went from like a rotary phone to the iPhone X in 12 months.”
A group of students from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kan., were taking photos outside the White House during Thursday’s shoot when they were invited to be extras in one scene, which may or may not make the final cut. The students were in town to tour the White House and attend Friday’s March for Life rally, where Trump (the real one) was scheduled to speak.
“They were awesome kids,” Di Domenico said. “It was just fortuitous. That happened to me in New York once when I was doing a shoot as Austin Powers. It added a totally different dimension to the spot.”
Di Domenico, a casual Eagles fan who spends most Sundays writing scripts rather than watching football, said there was an unscripted interruption during Thursday’s shoot when a group of tourists spotted Cousins and shouted: “Come to Denver! We’ll love you there!”
Demetriou, a Redskins fan who declined to reveal any details of this year’s ad, hopes that doesn’t happen.
“I said to him, ‘Kirk, we really want you to stay,’ and he said, ‘I really want to stay, too,’ ” Demetriou said. “Hopefully it turns out.”
Update: Demetriou said Tuesday’s news that the Redskins have traded for Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith did not affect Cyprus Air’s plans for the ad.
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