Director of Trump biopic defends controversial scene as lawsuit looms

Director of Trump biopic defends controversial scene as lawsuit looms

The former US president's team vowed to sue the producers, calling it 'pure malicious defamation'.
22 May, 2024

The director of an explosive biopic that shows Donald Trump raping his wife has defended the controversial scene, saying the alleged incident is “well known” and explains the ex-president’s character.

The Apprentice, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, traces Trump’s origins as an ambitious young property developer in 1970s and 1980s New York. Donald Trump’s team has vowed to sue the producers, calling it “garbage” and “pure malicious defamation”.

The most controversial scene is that of Trump raping his first wife, Ivana, after she belittles him for growing fat and bald. “This particular thing is very well known. This incident, Ivana Trump said it under deposition, under oath,” said director Ali Abbasi. In real life, Ivana accused Trump of raping her during divorce proceedings but later rescinded the allegation. She died in 2022.

Asked why the scene was included, Abbasi said the movie is “about how, point by point, bit by bit, (Trump) distances himself from those human relationships that define him and that hold him in check as a human being.

“Ivana’s relationship is super-important, obviously. Ivana is someone who is very close to him.” 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. Both received glowing reviews from critics.

Other unflattering scenes show Trump suffering erectile dysfunction, and undergoing liposuction and surgery for hair loss. But the film overall offers a nuanced account, depicting an ambitious but naive social climber whose decency erodes as he learns the dark arts of dealmaking and power. “Donald’s team should wait to watch the movie before they start suing us,” said Abbasi.

“I don’t necessary think this is a movie that he would dislike… I think he would be surprised.”

‘Attack, attack, attack’

In a statement, Trump’s 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. Abbasi was unflustered.

“Everybody talks about him suing a lot of people. They don’t talk about his success rate,” he said. The Apprentice premiered while Trump is on trial in Manhattan for a tawdry scandal involving an adult film star. It comes just months ahead of the US presidential election in which Trump is expected to face Joe Biden.

“We have a promotional event coming up called the US elections that is going to help us with the movie,” joked Abbasi, suggesting it could be released around the second Biden-Trump debate in September.

The Apprentice begins with a young Trump, obsessed with joining the city’s elite and dreaming of his own luxury hotel, even as he spends his days collecting rent from his father’s tenants.

His life is transformed by an encounter with Cohn, whose nihilistic lessons such as “admit nothing, deny everything” and “attack, attack, attack” will become Trump’s manifesto in later life.

Cohn made his name as a fearsome lawyer by hunting communists for Senator Joseph McCarthy, and sending Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to the electric chair.

Originally published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2024


Taj Ahmad May 22, 2024 03:37pm
45th US President Mr. Donald Trump despite all allegations and controversies, he is still popular in America and he could win next Presidential Elections in November 2024 as well.
St. Mercury May 22, 2024 09:26pm
The legal system has been too easy on him. Trump should have been rotting in jail if he was served justice like any ordinary person.
jay komerath May 25, 2024 07:09pm
The producer should be commended for the Movie,and he is telling like it is.There should also some comment and indication of his level of intelligence