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HomeEntertainmentDirector Abbasi defends controversial scene in Trump biopic 'The Apprentice' amid legal...

Director Abbasi defends controversial scene in Trump biopic ‘The Apprentice’ amid legal threats


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The director Ali Abbasi of The Apprentice, a biopic depicting former US President Donald Trump raping his wife, has staunchly defended the scene, asserting that the incident is “well known” and crucial to understanding Trump’s character.

The Apprentice, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, chronicles Trump’s early years as an ambitious property developer in New York during the 1970s and 1980s. Trump’s legal team has threatened to sue the producers, labelling the film “pure malicious defamation.”

The film’s most controversial scene shows Trump raping his first wife, Ivana, following a disagreement where she mocks his appearance. Director Ali Abbasi insists the inclusion of this scene is justified. “This particular incident is very well known.

Ivana Trump mentioned it under oath during their divorce proceedings,” Abbasi stated. Although Ivana later retracted the accusation, it remains a significant part of their turbulent relationship. Ivana Trump passed away in 2022.

Abbasi elaborated on the film’s intention, saying, “The movie explores how Trump progressively distances himself from the human relationships that define him. Ivana’s relationship is particularly important as she was very close to him.”

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apprentice cast scaled
(From L) US writer Gabriel Sherman, French producer Louis Tisne, Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, Iranian director Ali Abbasi, Romanian-US actor Sebastian Stan, US actor Martin Donovan and Israeli producer Daniel Bekerman attend a press conference for the film “The Apprentice” during the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Sebastian Stan, known for his roles in Marvel films, portrays Trump, while Jeremy Strong from “Succession” plays his mentor and attorney Roy Cohn. Both actors have received positive reviews for their performances.

The film also depicts Trump facing other personal issues, such as erectile dysfunction and undergoing cosmetic surgeries. Despite these unflattering portrayals, Abbasi claims the biopic offers a nuanced view of Trump, showing him as an ambitious yet naive social climber who loses his moral compass as he delves deeper into the dark world of dealmaking and power.

“Donald’s team should watch the movie before deciding to sue us,” Abbasi suggested. “I don’t necessarily think this is a movie he would dislike. He might even be surprised.”

Trump’s campaign communications director, Steven Cheung, announced plans to file a lawsuit to address the film’s “blatantly false assertions.” Cheung dismissed the film as “pure fiction,” emphasizing that it sensationalizes long-debunked lies.

Abbasi, however, remained unfazed by the legal threats, commenting on Trump’s frequent but often unsuccessful litigation efforts.

The Apprentice premieres while Trump faces a separate trial in Manhattan related to an affair with an adult film star. This biopic’s release coincides with the lead-up to the US presidential election, where Trump is anticipated to run against President Joe Biden.

Abbasi hinted that the film might be released around the second Biden-Trump debate in September.

The film opens with a young Trump, eager to join New York’s elite and dreaming of building his own luxury hotel. His life changes dramatically after meeting Roy Cohn, whose ruthless philosophies, such as “admit nothing, deny everything” and “attack, attack, attack,” become the guiding principles of Trump’s later career.

Cohn, infamous for his role in the anti-communist crusades of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the prosecution of Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, is portrayed as a significant influence on Trump’s development.


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