Cannes 2024: Trump Campaign threatens lawsuit over controversial Sebastian Stan starrer, ‘The Apprentice’

The contentious film depicts the ex-US president’s early years as a real estate developer and his relationship with lawyer, Roy Cohn

Updated - May 21, 2024 01:37 pm IST

Published - May 21, 2024 01:23 pm IST

A person dressed as Donald Trump poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘The Apprentice’ at the 77th International Cannes Film Festival

A person dressed as Donald Trump poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘The Apprentice’ at the 77th International Cannes Film Festival | Photo Credit: ANDREEA ALEXANDRU

The Trump campaign has reacted strongly to the premiere of The Apprentice, a contentious film depicting the ex-US president’s early years as a real estate developer, threatening legal action against the production. The film, which stars Sebastian Stan as Trump, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, receiving an eight-minute standing ovation.

Trump’s campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, lambasted the film in a statement to Variety, declaring, “We will be filing a lawsuit to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers.” He described the film as “pure fiction” and “malicious defamation,” asserting that it was a tactic of “election interference by Hollywood elites.” Cheung’s statement also criticized the portrayal of Trump, suggesting the film “belongs in a dumpster fire” rather than in any legitimate distribution channel.

The legal threats extend beyond Trump’s campaign. Dan Snyder, the billionaire former owner of the Washington Commanders and an investor in the film, has also objected to its portrayal of Trump. Snyder, who has financially supported Trump in previous campaigns, reportedly invested in the film under the belief it would present a favorable image of the former president. After viewing the film in February, Snyder’s lawyers have been actively working to prevent its release.

The Apprentice features scenes that paint Trump in a highly negative light, including depictions of drug use, cosmetic surgery, and a highly controversial scene of alleged nonconsensual sex with his first wife, Ivana Trump. These scenes have drawn significant criticism from Trump supporters and have amplified calls for legal action.

Helmed by Holy Spider director Ali Abbasi and written by journalist Gabriel Sherman, The Apprentice also stars Succession-star Jeremy Strong as lawyer Roy Cohn and Borat’s Maria Bakalova as Ivana Trump.

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