The Apprentice: Biopic of Young Casino-Obsessed Donald Trump Deemed “Election Interference”

  • The Apprentice focuses on a young Trump as he tries to become a real estate developer
  • He becomes corrupted by power and makes bad investments like his Atlantic City casino
  • The film also includes a scene in which Trump rapes his then wife Ivana Trump
  • The Trump camp has vowed to sue over the film which it deemed “election interference” 
The Apprentice still
The Apprentice, a biopic about former US President Donald Trump, is making waves for a multitude of reasons. [Image: Cannes Film Festival]

A hit with the audience

Long standing ovations are no abnormality at the Cannes Film Festival. In fact, if a film is worth its salt at all then it is expected to receive an applause lasting several minutes at least. A new biopic centered around former US President Donald Trump did just that, inspiring an ovation lasting eight minutes on Monday.

Although you might expect a film about Trump to focus on his highly eventful stint as President, Iranian-Danish Director Ali Abbasi instead decides to focus on the 1970s and 80s. Starring Marvel star Sebastian Stan as the leading man and Succession’s Jeremy Strong as lawyer Roy Cohn, The Apprentice follows Trump as he sets his sights on developing a casino in Atlantic City.

Trump has a “reputation” to uphold in the lead up to the US Presidential Election

While the movie may have inspired rapturous applause at Cannes, it hasn’t received the same response from the Trump camp. After all, Trump has a “reputation” to uphold in the lead up to the US Presidential Election. Trump’s Campaign Communications Director Steven Cheung confirmed they would be taking legal action to address “blatantly false assertions” made in the picture.

The story of Trump

During the 70s and 80s, Donald Trump was trying to step out from the shadow of his powerful real-estate developer father Fred Trump. He attempted to make a name for himself in the same business by utilizing the mentorship of Cohn. The film follows this journey, which ultimately leads to a change in the character of Trump.

As reported by AFP, the movie “paints an unflinching but nuanced portrait of the former US president.” It begins with a sympathetic view of Trump as a social climber before he learns “the dark arts of dealmaking” and the power begins to corrupt his decency.

an investigation by the New York Times supposedly revealed his casino business was a complete failure

Within this journey, the film focuses on Trump’s obsession with entering the casino business in Atlantic City. It’s a move that Cohn warns him against, arguing that the market had “peaked.” Trump ultimately ignores his mentor. While he might argue still to this day that “Atlanic City fuelled a lot of growth for me,” an investigation by the New York Times supposedly revealed his casino business was a complete failure.

Abbasi certainly wasn’t afraid to reveal what he believed to be the true story of Trump, warts and all. As the film follows Trump as he turns from naïve young businessman to power hungry villain, it also features “rape, erectile dysfunction, baldness and betrayal,” according to AFP. It is primarily with the rape inclusion that the Trump camp takes issue.

Trump camp response

Commenting on the contents of the film, Trump campaign member Cheung said: “This garbarge is pure fiction which sensationalizes lies that have been long debunked.” He deemed it “election interference by Hollywood elites,” as Trump faces up against current President Joe Biden in the bid to become the next leader of the country.

Among those “lies” that Cheung alludes to, is a scene in the film in which Trump rapes his then wife Ivana Trump. Ivana, who died in 2022, accused Trump of raping her during her divorce proceedings in real life. She later retracted the statement.

wait to watch the movie before they start suing us”

Defending his choices within the movie, Director Abbasi said his aim was “to do a punk rock version of a historical movie… [not] get too anal about details and what’s right and what’s wrong.” He also urged Trump’s team to “wait to watch the movie before they start suing us,” claiming he doesn’t think it is a movie Trump would dislike… “I think he would be surprised,” he concluded.

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