Explosive Trump biopic hits Cannes Film Festival

Rape, erectile dysfunction, baldness and betrayal: an explosive new biopic of Donald Trump shown at Cannes on Monday paints an unflinching but nuanced portrait of the former US president, even as he runs again for the White House.

“The Apprentice” traces Trump’s origin story as an ambitious young property developer in 1970s and 1980s New York.

Sebastian Stan, best known from Marvel superhero films, stars as Trump, while Jeremy Strong of “Succession” fame plays his ruthless mentor and attorney Roy Cohn — and both received glowing reviews from Cannes critics.

Initially presenting an almost sympathetic portrayal of a headstrong but naive social climber, the film charts Trump’s decency being eroded as he learns the dark arts of dealmaking and tastes power.

Its premiere at the French film festival Monday came while Trump is on trial in Manhattan for a tawdry scandal involving a porn star.

The movie begins with a disclaimer that many of its events are fictionalised, and director Ali Abbasi puts that licence to full use, imagining brutal events taking place behind closed doors.

In one harrowing scene, Trump is seen raping his first wife Ivana.

During divorce proceedings, Ivana once accused Trump of raping her, though she later rescinded the allegation. She died in 2022.

The movie appears to have already infuriated Trump’s team.

His campaign communications director Steven Cheung said a lawsuit would be filed “to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers”.

“This garbage is pure fiction which sensationalises lies that have been long debunked,” added Cheung in a statement to AFP.

Speaking to Vanity Fair before the premier, Abbasi had said the aim was “to do a punk rock version of a historical movie… [not] get too anal about details and what’s right and what’s wrong”.

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