Film about the rise of Donald Trump in Cannes draws threat of lawsuit

A film about the rise of the young Donald Trump caused a stir at the Cannes Film Festival and resulted in a threat of legal action from the former US president. “This 'film' is malicious slander and (…) doesn't even deserve a place on the DVD rack at a video store,” said a spokesman for Trump's campaign team on Tuesday night.

“We will file a lawsuit to counter the obviously false claims of these pseudo-filmmakers,” it said. Danish-Iranian filmmaker Ali Abbasi, who portrayed the rise of the future US president in the film “The Apprentice,” was unimpressed.

“Donald's people should see the film first before threatening to sue,” he said after the premiere, which took place in Cannes on Monday evening. He thinks that his film would not necessarily be disliked by Trump. “Maybe he wouldn't like it… but at least it would surprise him,” he said. “I would like to show him the film and talk to him about it later,” he added with a laugh.

The film isn't actually about Trump, but “about a system and how it works,” said Abbasi. You can see, among other things, how Trump, as a young real estate agent, is supported by a mentor whose motto he adopts: “Deny everything and always attack.”

In one scene, Trump rapes his first wife Ivana. “That is well known, she has testified about it under oath,” Abbasi said. In fact, the rape allegations in Trump's real life played a role in the divorce proceedings; however, Ivana Trump later retracted them.

In the film, which its makers do not want to see as a documentary, Trump is shown in unflattering circumstances, such as having erection problems and undergoing cosmetic surgery to conceal his hair loss. “The Apprentice” is one of the 22 films competing for the Palme d'Or, which will be awarded on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in real life, the hush money trial against Trump is coming to an end. In the first criminal trial in history against a former US president, the 77-year-old is accused of having covered up hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election by falsifying business documents. He pleads not guilty and denies having had sex with the porn star.