The Emperor's New Clothes (2015 film)

The Emperor's New Clothes is a 2015 documentary film about the growing disparity between economic classes, directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring actor/activist Russell Brand.

The Emperor's New Clothes
Directed byMichael Winterbottom
Produced byMelissa Parmenter[1]
Written byMichael Winterbottom
StarringRussell Brand
Edited byMarc Richardson
Revolution Films
Distributed byStudioCanal UK
Release date
  • 21 April 2015 (2015-04-21) (London premiere)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States


The film contains archival footage from the 21st-century recession paired with "comedic send-ups" from Brand, conducted in the financial districts of London and New York.[2] In one scene in the film, Brand attempts to confront Lord Rothermere, the billionaire owner of the Daily Mail, about his "non-dom" tax status, through which he avoids paying taxes in the United Kingdom by claiming residence elsewhere. When Brand rings the bell at Rothermere's London mansion and asks through the intercom to speak to him, he is told by an unseen person that Rothermere does indeed live there.[3]

Winterbottom stated that the film will explore why "nothing has changed" since the economic crisis in 2008.

"It's about inequality and why the 1 percent (of the world's wealthy) seem to have so much and the rest of us not quite so much," Winterbottom told the BBC in October 2014. "Everyone knows about equality and what's going on in the world, so the idea is to point out the ludicrous extremes of our society."[4]

The documentary began shooting in October. Winterbottom and Brand had previously discussed—but ultimately abandoned—the idea of producing a film version of Brand's first memoir, My Booky Wook.

Distribution and release

The film is produced by Winterbottom's Revolution Films company and distributed by StudioCanal UK.[5]

The Emperor's New Clothes debuted in London on 21 April 2015, followed by a question-and-answer session with Brand. It made its international debut in the Spotlight Category on 24 April at the Tribeca Film Festival.[6]


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