As ‘The Apprentice’ Seeks Cannes Sale, Trump Team Sends Cease and Desist Letter to Block Film’s Release (EXCLUSIVE)

Attorneys for Donald Trump have sent a cease and desist letter to the filmmakers behind “The Apprentice” in an effort to block its U.S. sale and release. It warns the team behind the film not to pursue a distribution deal, according to two people who have read the letter. “The Apprentice,” which looks at Trump’s early years as a real estate developer and his relationship with Roy Cohn, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this week.

“The film is a fair and balanced portrait of the former president,” the producers of the film said in a statement regarding the cease-and-desist letter. “We want everyone to see it and then decide.”

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The movie, which was independently produced, stars Sebastian Stan as Trump and Jeremy Strong as Cohn. It presents a damning portrait of the former president as an ethically compromised, philanderer who stiffs contractors and cuts deals with the mob to get his buildings completed. It includes other controversial details, including a scene where Trump rapes his first wife, Ivana, and depicts him abusing amphetamines to lose weight, as well as undergoing liposuction and plastic surgery.

Trump’s camp responded with a blistering note, threatening legal action. “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, it belongs in a dumpster fire,” Steven Cheung, Trump campaign communications director, said in a statement.

When reached for comment about the letter, the Trump campaign referred to its earlier statement on the film.

“The Apprentice” was directed by Ali Abbasi, the Iranian-Danish filmmaker behind “Holy Spider” and “Border,” and features a script by Gabriel Sherman, a journalist who covered the Trump administration.

At a press conference in Cannes for “The Apprentice,” Abbasi responded to Trump’s legal threats. “Everybody talks about him suing a lot of people — they don’t talk about his success rate though, you know?” he said. He also offered to screen the movie for Trump, saying, “I don’t necessarily think that this is a movie he would dislike.”

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