‘The Apprentice’ premieres to applause

May 22, 2024 11:33 am

[Source: CNN Entertainment]

“The Apprentice,” a new film about former President Donald Trump’s real estate dealings in New York in the ’80s, debuted to a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and criticism from his campaign.

The film about the presumptive Republican nominee comes five months before the presidential election.

Starring Sebastian Stan as a young Trump, the film is an “exploration of power and ambition set in a world of corruption and deceit,” according to an official synopsis.

Article continues after advertisement

“Succession” star Jeremy Strong co-stars as Roy Cohn, the lawyer and fixer who Trump considered a mentor early in his career.

“It’s a mentor-protege story that charts the origins of an American dynasty. Filled with larger than life characters, it reveals the moral and human cost of a culture defined by winners and losers,” the synopsis reads.

“The Apprentice,” which, despite the title, is not a reference to the reality competition series Trump starred in, includes a disclaimer that some parts of the story are slightly fictionalized. It is written by biographer and political journalist Gabriel Sherman and directed by Iranian-Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi.

“In the time of turmoil, there’s this tendency to look inwards, to sort of bury your head deep in the sand and look inside and hope for the best, hope for the storm to get away,” Abassi told the audience at the movie’s premiere on Monday, according to footage posted online.

“But, the storm,” Abassi continued, “is not going away. The storm is coming, actually. The worst times are to come.”

Abassi went on to say that he chose to make a film “about the world” through a story about Trump, because “there is no nice metaphorical way to deal with the rising wave of fascism.”

“There is only the messy way, there is only the banal way. There is only the way of dealing with this wave on its own turfs at its own level,” he said. “It’s not going to be pretty, but I think the problem with the world is that the good people have been quiet for too long.”

The film includes a depiction of Trump’s relationship with his first wife, Ivana, and their divorce, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A scene of the former president undergoing liposuction drew audible gasps from the crowd, the publication reported.

“We will be filing a lawsuit to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers. This garbage is pure fiction which sensationalizes lies that have been long debunked,” Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said in a statement to CNN. “This ‘film’ is pure malicious defamation, should not see the light of day, and doesn’t even deserve a place in the straight-to-DVD section of a bargain bin at a soon-to-be-closed discount movie store, it belongs in a dumpster fire.”

Maria Bakalova plays the late Ivana Trump, who died in 2022. Martin Donovan, Catherine McNally and Charlie Carrick, among others, round out the cast.

A release date for the film has yet to be announced. “The Apprentice” does not yet have a US-based distributor, according to IMDb.