Donald Trump Origin Tale ‘The Apprentice’ Gets 11-Minute Ovation At Its Cannes World Premiere

The Trumps were on the red carpet this evening at the Cannes Film Festival — sort of — as Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice world premiered in competition. The film was greeted with an 11-minute post-screening ovation at the Grand Theatre Lumiere.

Sebastian Stan, the Emmy and Golden Globe nominee known for his work in the MCU and the Hulu miniseries Pam & Tommy, here plays a young Donald Trump with Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova (Borat 2) as Trump’s first wife, Ivana. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jeremy Strong also stars as infamous attorney Roy Cohn, and Martin Donovan is playing Fred Trump.

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Stan and Bakalova attended the red-carpet premiere. Strong was not in attendance as we understand he stayed in New York where he is starring on Broadway in An Enemy of the People. (After the film ended, Abbasi held up his phone to the camera; Strong was on video, flashing the peace sign.)

Abbasi in remarks after the film said he wanted to embrace the politics of now in cinema with so much unrest in the world.

“In the time of turmoil, there’s this tendency to look inwards, to bury your head deep in the sand … and hope for the best, hope for the storm to get away,” he said. “But you know, the storm is not going away, the storm is coming, actually. The worst times are to come.”

There was lots of hugs going around among Abbasi, Stan and Bakalova as the lights went up on the two-hour film. Cate Blanchett, Cynthia Erivo and Oliver Stone were among the crowd applauding afterward. Stone, who has made his share of political films, even offered a spot review.

An exploration of power and ambition, and set in a world of corruption and deceit, The Apprentice examines Trump’s efforts to build his real estate business in New York in the 1970s and 80s, also digging into his relationship with Cohn. It’s a mentor-protégé story that charts the origins of a major American dynasty. Filled with larger than life characters, it reveals the moral and human cost of a culture defined by winners and losers.

The real-life former POTUS is currently standing trial in a criminal hush-money case in New York.

Gabriel Sherman, whose bestseller The Loudest Voice in the Room inspired Showtime’s miniseries The Loudest Voice, starring Russell Crowe as Fox News founder Roger Ailes, wrote The Apprentice script.

The Apprentice producers are Daniel Bekerman of Scythia Films, Jacob Jarek of Profile Pictures and Ruth Treacy of Taylored Films. Executive producers are Grant S. Johnson, Sherman and Amy Baer, in association with Kinematics as the financier.

International sales are being handled by Rocket Science with CAA and WME on domestic sales in Cannes. Studiocanal recently acquired UK-Ireland rights.

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