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‘The Apprentice’ Director Shrugs Off Trump Lawsuit Threat

‘The Apprentice’ Director Shrugs Off Trump Lawsuit Threat

Filmmaker Ali Abbasi has responded to the Trump campaign’s threat to sue over his movie The Apprentice, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival on Monday night with an eight-minute standing ovation. 

“Everybody talks about him suing a lot of people — they don’t talk about his success rate though, you know?” Abbasi said Monday morning in France, drawing laughs the crowd at the first press conference for The Apprentice. 

The director acknowledged Trump’s likely assumptions around the movie, saying, “If I was him, I would be sitting in New Jersey, Florida or wherever he is now — or New York — and I would be thinking, ‘Oh, this crazy Iranian guy and some, like, liberal cunts in Cannes, they gathered and they did this movie and it’s fucked up.’”

“But I don’t necessarily think that this is a movie he would dislike,” Abassi added, before saying he would be happy to screen the movie for Trump and discuss it with him. 

He continued: “I don’t necessarily think he would like it. I think he would be surprised, you know? And like I’ve said before, I would offer to go and meet him wherever he wants and talk about the context of the movie, have a screening talk and a chat afterwards, if that’s interesting to anyone at the Trump campaign.”

The Apprentice explores Donald Trump’s rise to power in 1980s America under the influence of the firebrand rightwing attorney Roy Cohn. Sebastian Stan portrays a young version of the real estate mogul in his pre-MAGA days while Succession star Jeremy Strong plays Cohn, along with Martin Donovan (Tenet) as Fred Trump Sr. and Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) as Ivana Trump.

The film has been described as a surprisingly humanistic portrayal of the global icon now known simply as “The Donald,” but it also contains several disturbing and unflattering scenes, including a sequence where he rapes his first wife Ivana, gets liposuction and surgery for his bald spot, becomes addicted to diet pills, and betrays the trust of many of those closest to him. 

At the premiere Monday night, Abassi laid his intentions bare by stating, “There is no nice metaphorical way to deal with the rising wave of fascism. There’s only the messy way. There’s only the the banal way. There’s only the way of dealing with this wave on its own terms, at its own level and it’s not going to be pretty.”  

“I think the problem with the world,” he added, “is that the good people have been quiet for too long. So, I think it’s time to make movies relevant. It’s time to make movies political again.”

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Later Monday night in Cannes, as a glitzy after-party for The Apprentice was getting underway, word began to spread that the Trump campaign was threatening to sue in response to the movie. 

“We will be filing a lawsuit to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement. “This garbage is pure fiction which sensationalizes lies that have been long debunked.”

“This ‘film’ is pure malicious defamation, should not see the light of day, and doesn’t even deserve a place in the straight-to-DVD section of a bargain bin at a soon-to-be-closed discount movie store,” Cheung went on, “it belongs in a dumpster fire.”

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