The Apprentice director offers to screen movie for Trump after lawsuit threats

Ali Abbasi, the director of the new Donald Trump biopic The Apprentice, has responded after the Trump campaign threatened legal action against the movie.

The 2024 candidate’s chief spokesperson said the film, starring Sebastian Stanas the former president in his early days as a New York City real estate developer, was a work of “pure fiction.”

“We will be filing a lawsuit to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers,” Steven Cheung claimed after the film’s world premiere at Cannes Film Festival on Monday (20 May).

Abbasi was asked about the legal threats during a press conference at the festival on Tuesday.

“Everybody talks about him suing a lot of people, they don’t talk about his success rate [with those lawsuits],” he said, according to Deadline.

“I don’t necessarily think this is a movie [Trump] would dislike, I don’t think he’d necessarily like it, but I think he would be surprised,” Abbasi told press. “I would offer to go and meet him and have a chat afterward.”

The Apprentice centers on Trump’s relationships with his first wife, Ivana Trump (Maria Bakalova), and the lawyer and fixer Roy Cohn, played by Succession’s Jeremy Strong.

The biopic reportedly contains a variety of unflattering scenes involving Trump, featuring him using drugs and getting cosmetic surgery. Most controversially, the film shows Trump raping Ivana.

Ali Abbasi and Donald Trump (Getty Images)
Ali Abbasi and Donald Trump (Getty Images)

In a 1989 divorce deposition, Ivana accused Trump of raping her, but she later disavowed the allegation.

The Trump campaign aren’t the only ones upset at the film’s content.

Dan Snyder, the former owner of NFL team the Washington Commanders, who reportedly invested in the film via the company Kinematics, has raged against the film’s portrayal of Trump.

Billionaire Snyder, a longtime Trump supporter, had apparently given financial backing to the movie under the impression that it would be a flattering portrayal of Trump’s rise in real estate.

However, when Snyder saw a cut of the film in February, he was reportedly “furious” and enlisted Kinematics’ lawyers to issue cease-and-desist letters.

The Apprentice has yet to be picked up by a US distributor. But Abbassi said that a 15 September release date, timed with the second presidential debate, would be ideal.

“We have this promotional event, the US election, with us and the movie, so we’re hoping to very much to come out,” said Abbasi.