Tony Goldwyn Was Good At Being A Creeper In Lifetime’s Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs

Outlaw Prophet Warren Jeffs Tony Goldwyn June 2014

Last night President Fitz, aka Tony Goldwyn, took the night off from presidential things like sleeping with Kerry Washington to play polygamist leader Warren Jeffs in Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs. Ooh, it has a colon so you know it’s gonna be good. Or at least not bad. I spent most of the movie going “Ick, no,” which I’d say is a mark of success for a movie with this subject matter. And most importantly, Mr. Goldwyn was very good at being a creeper.

Apparently Maria von Trapp’s whole “Let’s start at the very beginning” thing is not Lifetime’s cup of tea, a drink with jam and bread, because they start this one at the end, or at least close to it. Warren Jeffs gets a phone call and jumps out of the bed he’s sharing with multiple women. You know, in case you were worried this wasn’t a movie about men with more than one wife. It is. He only has time to pack one of his wives to take with him on the run, and the rest he leaves to deal with the cops.

Flash back to four years earlier, and Warren’s father Martin Landau (making his triumphant Lifetime return after Anna Nicole) is the “prophet,” while Warren just does boring stuff like teach children and play guitar. His father’s pretty mean to him, which causes him to stare at angrily into the mirror while slapping himself in the face. You know, just polygamist things.

Of course the prophet is very old, and he eventually tells Warren who the next prophet will be on his deathbed. And you can totally see Warren about to pull a Kanye West and just start walking up to the stage to accept the award, but instead his dad is like, “Aaaand God’s choice for the next prophet is… Noah Fielding!” But of course Warren is the only one who has heard him say this. So you can probably tell where this is going. After his father dies, before the important council people have a chance to make a decision, he gets up in front of the whole community and announces that he is their new prophet. Oh, and that Noah guy? He gets banished, obviously.

Meanwhile, Warren has been perving on one of the girls in the community, who’s played by Joey King. You might know her as the girl who did the secret handshake with Channing Tatum. Or, as I know her, the girl from the new Fargo TV series (which was really good and you should all catch up on it). So let’s call her Fargo girl. Poor Fargo girl gets caught kissing a boy by Warren, so he goes to her mother and suggests it’s time for her to be placed in marriage. Fargo girl isn’t so into that idea, since she’s 14 years old, but they make her do it. Meanwhile Warren chooses to leave her kissing partner to fend for himself in the desesrt. I knew that was coming since I’d already seen the Lifetime masterpiece Escape From Polygamy.

Warren is in the mood for a few new wives as well, but unfortunately one of the candidates used to be married to his father, so she thinks it would be like totes inappropriate for them to get married. So totes inappropriate that she climbs the fence and runs away, where she gets in contact with the cops investigating the compound. Turns out her sister is Fargo girl, and she would really prefer it if she could escape too. Fargo girl does just that, but only after she’s had a miscarriage and nearly committed suicide by drowning. She also talks to the police, which brings us back around to where we were at the start of the movie, when Warren is interrupted while sleeping off an orgy. So inconvenient. But forcing underage girls into marriage isn’t exactly the kind of thing the police approve of, so you know.

Warren escapes the cops, and he and his wife go on the run disguising themselves in mullet wigs and sunglasses. Obviously polygamists would never wear those things, so they’re safe. Warren gets added to the Most Wanted list, something he is very proud of. Unfortunately the cops catch up to them eventually, and they’re pulled over on the road one night while Warren eats a salad in the backseat. He puts those forkfuls of lettuce into his mouth so creepily that I will never look at a salad the same way again. The cops catch on to the creeper vibe, and once he knows he’s caught and can no longer enjoy his car salad in peace, he calmly admits his real name.

Fargo girl testifies against Warren, and he’s sent to prison, where he tries and fails to hang himself with a bedsheet. Back at the compound, his followers continue to pray for him, and thanks to his brother Isaac, who visits him in prison, Warren sends messages back and forth. He seems to think he’ll “be among them again,” but in real life Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence for child sexual assault.

(Image: Lifetime)

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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    • A.J.

      This was one of the more interesting Lifetime movies I’ve seen in a while. I detest Warren Jeffs, but Tarzan played him to the hilt, right down to those weird tics. A couple of thoughts:
      a.). Martin Landau must like grabbing women’s butts; he seems to enjoy playing in movies like these.
      b.) I was a little confused when he married Elissa off to her step-cousin, because he was definitely ogling her, was jealous if her little boyfriend, etc. Why didn’t he just add her to his stable of wives instead? (For the movie’s sake, at least.) Was he living vicariously through that boy or what?
      c.) I too can’t look at lettuce now, but at least I have a legitimate reason fork not eating it.
      d.) Am I the only one who wanted to scrub my eyes out with lye after the orgy scene?

      • FauxRealFaux

        I wondered about the money as well… but it could come from the government not taxing church funds and government subsidies and welfare.

      • capoupascap

        Warren Jeff’s controlled all the members money/compound money. They had money rolling in from construction projects that they landed because they underbid then didn’t pay the workers (who were FLDS and lived on the compound). And they commit massive amounts of tax/welfare fraud. It’s been a long time since I read Under The Banner of Heaven, but iirc they get back 3X in federal money what they pay in taxes and consider it their “duty” to defraud the government.

      • A.J.

        That’s a shame, isn’t it? Thanks for the information!

      • joanne

        They also instruct the women who are 2nd and 3rd (and on) wives on how to sign up for all the public assistance they can get which they turn over to their husbands which gets tithed to the church. They barely feed the women and children and all the families garden for their own produce.

        The church also owns all the land, there’s little to no private property, so when they cast out members, as they did those older men, their property reverts back to church.

      • A.J.

        That’s terrible. And those very same people will complain about others who supposedly are lazy and leech off the government (Jeffs is a notorious racist.).

    • Cbalducc

      Anyone here old enough to remember Martin Landau in “Mission: Impossible”?

      • A.J.

        It was before my time, but I definitely remember him; we had the videotapes of the series. His disguises were awesome!

    • jaemarie

      I haven’t seen this yet so thanks for telling the whole story… No mystery left

      • Guest

        Why would you keep reading once you realized she was explaining the plot? If you wanted some mystery?

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