Producers Of New Donald Trump Movie Hit Back Over Cease-And-Desist Letter

The former president's team is apparently not happy about Ali Abbasi’s new film The Apprentice.
Jeremy Strong and Sebastian Stan in The Apprentice
Jeremy Strong and Sebastian Stan in The Apprentice

The team behind a new film about the life of Donald Trump have spoken out after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the former president.

Last week, Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice became one of the most talked-about films at Cannes after premiering at the film festival.

Focussing on the early years of Trump’s life in the public eye, The Apprentice sees Sebastian Stan in the lead role of Trump, while Borat’s Maria Bakalova portrays his first wife.

Succession’s Jeremy Strong also appears as Roy Cohn, one of his early business mentors.

The Apprentice proved divisive among critics and was quickly shot down by the Trump campaign.

On Friday evening, Variety was first to report that Trump’s team had hit the producers of The Apprentice with a cease-and-desist letter in an attempt to block its widespread release.

In response, producers told the US outlet: “The film is a fair and balanced portrait of the former president. We want everyone to see it and then decide.”

Maria Bakalova, filmmaker Ali Abbasi and Sebastian Stan in Cannes last week
Maria Bakalova, filmmaker Ali Abbasi and Sebastian Stan in Cannes last week
JB Lacroix via Getty Images

Speaking to journalists at a press conference after the first screening of The Apprentice, director Ali Abbasi insisted he doesn’t think the film is one that Trump himself “would dislike”.

“I don’t necessarily think he would like it,” he quickly added. “But I think he’d be surprised. So I’m happy to meet him, have a screening and then we can discuss it afterwards.”

Scenes in The Apprentice depict Trump (played by Pam & Tommy’s Sebastian Stan) taking diet pills, undergoing cosmetic surgery and sexually assaulting his wife.

Donald Trump pictured in 1985
Donald Trump pictured in 1985
Universal History Archive via Getty Images

The latter scene is inspired by an incident detailed by Ivana Trump during her 1990 divorce proceedings, which she initially described as “rape”, per The Guardian.

In a statement three years later, Ivana said: “On one occasion during 1989, Mr Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently towards me than he had during our marriage.

“As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a ‘rape’, but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

Trump previously referred to his ex-wife’s account as “obviously false”.


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