Saturday, July 20, 2024

Trump Movie “The Apprentice” Making Its Way Toward Fall Release, Would Certainly Influence Election


“The Apprentice” is coming sooner than you think.

Shown in Cannes, the movie — a documentary style dramatic version of Donald Trump’s early days — may finally have found a distributor.

I’ve confirmed that would be indie outfit Briarcliff Entertainment, whose owner — Tom Ortenberg — steered “Spotlight” to a Best Picture in 2016. His other hits included Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911.”

“The Apprentice” is film directed by Ali Abbasi and written by journalist Gabriel Sherman. Sebastian Stan plays Trump in his 30s and 40s. Newly minted Tony Award winner Jeremy Strong is the late monster Roy Cohn, Trump’s evil guru who taught him the tricks of the trade.

Maria Bakalova, who made such a splash in the “Borat” sequel, plays Ivana Trump. The film re-enacts Donald raping Ivana, something Ivana alleged and subsequently retracted years ago.

There’s a long, complicated history of the film’s financing which had so far prevented it from finding a distributor after becoming a sensation in Cannes last month. It involves Dan Snyder, former owner of the Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins) who invested $5 million thinking the movie would portray Trump in a positive light.

But holding up the release would mean extremely negative PR for Snyder as football season begins, and who needs that? So negotiations are under way to pay him back and move on with “The Apprentice” hitting theaters this fall.

If the film is released before the November 5th election — and I’m told it can be, easily — the impact would be tremendous. Just the publicity alone from the film, apart from people running out to see it, would take over the conversation as Trump struggles to be elected again. Imagine Ivana’s children taking to the media their defense of their father and questioning their late mother’s veracity.

Could “The Apprentice” be in the mix for the Oscars and other awards shows? It’s still unclear but 2024 is turning into a light year for Oscar buzzed films, so anything is possible. Acting wise, from what we’re told, Stan and Strong at least would be cinches. You wouldn’t want to wake up in March 2025 to a newly elected Trump portrayed by an Oscar winner as a rapist.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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