Everything to know about controversial Donald Trump film “The Apprentice” starring Sebastian Stan

Everything to know about controversial Donald Trump film “The Apprentice” starring Sebastian Stan

You’re fired.

Donald Trump is getting the biopic treatment.

Iranian-Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi (Holy Spider, Border) is helming The Apprentice, a drama about the 45th president’s ascent through the world of New York real estate business in the 1970s and ‘80s. The film held its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20 and is expected to release later this year. Here’s everything we know about The Apprentice.

Who’s playing Donald Trump?

<p>Gisela Schober/Getty </p> Sebastian Stan at the Cannes premiere of the Donald Trump biopic 'The Apprentice'

Gisela Schober/Getty

Sebastian Stan at the Cannes premiere of the Donald Trump biopic 'The Apprentice'

Sebastian Stan will play Donald J. Trump in the movie, orange hairdo and all. The performer behind Marvel’s Bucky Barnes has also made dramatic turns in projects like I, Tonya, Pam & Tommy, Black Swan, and the forthcoming A Different Man. “It was a long, arduous process, and to be honest, I just didn’t know if I could do it,” Stan told Vanity Fair about portraying Trump. “I just scoured the internet and everything I could find… all around the time period that the movie was taking place. I watched everything.”

Related: Sebastian Stan transforms in the discomforting drama A Different Man

Who else is in the film?

Succession star Jeremy Strong will play the notorious attorney Roy Cohn, the lawyer who prosecuted the Rosenbergs and served as Chief Counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy during the controversial Army–McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. Cohn was a key mentor for Trump in the businessman-turned-politician’s early career, and worked as his lawyer when he was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act.

<p>Dia Dipasupil/Getty </p> Jeremy Strong

Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Jeremy Strong

Meanwhile, Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Bodies Bodies Bodies) portrays Ivana Trump, the businesswoman who was married to the future president from 1977 to 1990. Ivana Trump was a significant player in the Trump Organization’s business operations and was the mother of Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump. She died in 2022 and was buried at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

Martin Donovan (Weeds, Tenet, Ant-Man) is playing Donald’s dad, Fred Trump, and Joe Pingue (The Expanse, The Book of Eli) is portraying mob boss Anthony Salerno.

Related: See super early 2025 Oscar contenders to watch, from Zendaya to Lady Gaga and Dune: Part 2

What’s the timeline of the movie?

<p>Joe McNally/Getty </p> Donald Trump in 1987

Joe McNally/Getty

Donald Trump in 1987

Although its title obviously recalls Trump’s 2000s NBC reality show, The Apprentice’s scope is limited to an earlier chapter of the business mogul’s career. Since the film focuses on how Cohn’s mentorship profoundly influenced Trump as a businessman and leader, and Cohn died in 1986, it’s safe to assume that the film won’t venture beyond the mid-1980s for the majority of its runtime. Early reviews from Cannes indicate that the timeline of the movie spans from around 1973 to 1986.

Related: Sad! Sebastian Stan is young Donald Trump in new movie The Apprentice

Behind-the-scenes controversy

The Apprentice may have been subject to behind-the-scenes conflict between its financiers and its filmmakers. Variety reported that Dan Snyder, the business mogul and former owner of the Washington Commanders, invested in the film through production company Kinematics. Snyder, an ally of Trump who donated over $1 million to his inaugural committee and Trump Victory, assumed that the movie would portray the future president in a positive light and was reportedly displeased when the film had a more critical framing of its subject than he expected.

As a result, Variety reported that Snyder “weighed in on what should be changed” in the movie and that “Kinematics’ lawyers were enlisted to fight the release” of the project. However, Kinematics president Emanuel Nuñez told Variety that Kinematics’ decision-making isn’t influenced by outside factors. “All creative and business decisions involving The Apprentice have always been and continue to be solely made by Kinematics. [We] run our company without the involvement of any other third parties.”

Representatives for Snyder, Kinematics, and Abbasi did not immediately respond to Entertainment Weekly’s request for comment.

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Legal issues

Not long after the Cannes premiere, the Trump campaign announced its plans to take the filmmakers to court.

“We will be filing a lawsuit to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement. “This garbage is pure fiction which sensationalizes lies that have been long debunked. As with the illegal Biden Trials, this is election interference by Hollywood elites, who know that President Trump will retake the White House and beat their candidate of choice because nothing they have done has worked.”

Reps for Abbasi, Stan, Strong, and screenwriter Gabriel Sherman did not immediately respond to Entertainment Weekly’s request for comment.

When will The Apprentice release?

Since no American distributor has secured the rights to The Apprentice yet, a concrete release date has yet to be determined. However, Variety noted that the film has received considerable attention from potential distributors, and that the film may ultimately release before the presidential election on Nov. 5.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.