Donald Trump Movie 'The Apprentice' to Premiere at Cannes Film Festival

It’s official: Donald Trump — or at least a fictionalized version of him, portrayed by Sebastian Stan — is heading to the Cannes Film Festival. The prestigious French film festival unveiled its 2024 official film selection Thursday in Paris, and Iranian-Danish filmmaker Ali Abassi’s The Apprentice was among the titles revealed for the event’s main competition.

The biographical drama stars Stan as Donald Trump and explores his career as an aspiring real estate tycoon in the New York City of the 1970s and 1980s. The film is described as a mentor-protégé narrative that documents the start of an American dynasty and tackles themes including power, corruption, and deception. It explores the relationship between Trump and Roy Cohn, the New York City prosecutor oft-remembered for working with Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Second Red Scare. 

Adding to the film’s must-watch buzziness, Succession star Jeremy Strong appears opposite Stan in the co-starring role of Cohn. And it gets better: Maria Bakalova, unforgettable for her breakthrough performance in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, plays Ivana Trump. Veteran character actor Martin Donovan plays Donald’s father Fred Trump.

The movie’s producers’ released a still giving a first look at the film on Thursday, following the Cannes announcement. The image shows an intense Strong staring a spooked-looking young Trump.

Born in Iran, Abbasi has been based in Denmark, where he studied filmmaking, since the mid-2000s. His first feature, Shelley, an art-house horror movie, premiered in the Panorama section of the 2016 Berlinale. He premiered his second film, Border, in Cannes where it won the Un Certain Regard. It was later selected as the Swedish entry to the Oscars in the best foreign-language film category. His most recent feature, Holy Spider, a harrowing thriller about a real-life serial killer who targeted sex workers in Iran, was elevated to Cannes main competition in 2022. The film’s star Zar Amir Ebrahimi, won the festival’s best actress award, and the film was selected Denmakr’s official Oscar entry, making the shortlist.

Abbasi directed The Apprentice from a script by Gabriel Sherman. The writer’s biography of Fox News founder Roger Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room, was the basis for Showtime’s 2019 miniseries The Loudest Voice which starred Russell Crowe.

Producers of The Apprentice are Daniel Bekerman of Scythia Films, Jacob Jarek of Profile Pictures and Ruth Treacy of Taylored Films. Executive producing are Sherman, Grant Johnson and Amy Baer, in association with financier Kinematics, which is led by founder and CEO Mark Rapaport and president Emanuel Nuñez.

Stan’s career has been on the rise in recent years, but he has some outsized shoes to fill — big, beautiful shoes (Trump voice) — in inhabiting The Donald. The actor earned an Emmy nomination for his role as drummer Tommy Lee in Hulu’s biographical miniseries Pam & Tommy opposite Lily James as Pamela Anderson. His other work includes this year’s Sony film Dumb Money, the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the 2017 fact-based movie I, Tonya.

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