SEBASTIAN STAN

May 21, 2024

hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
sebastian stan, the apprentice, Ali Abbasi, cannes dispatch, greg williams

CANNES DISPATCH 12 …
Sebastian Stan has played real life protagonists on film before – most notably Jeff Gillooly, in the critically acclaimed, I, Tonya and Tommy Lee in awards-winning Pam and Tommy. But his turn as former president, Donald Trump, in Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice, is attracting heat – not least from the 45th POTUS himself. ‘As always it’s about understanding,’ Stan told Hollywood Authentic when we shot him before the premiere at the Palais. ‘The challenge was perhaps working against preconceived ideas or what’s currently out there. Had to go back in time. To the beginning. And go step by step without judgment.’ 

Premiering in Cannes this week, The Apprentice charts the rise of Trump in 70s and 80s New York as he evolves from a debt collector with real estate ambitions to a Manhattan baller who learns how to ‘win’ from unscrupulous lawyer Roy Cohn (Jeremy Strong). An origin story, if you will. 

sebastian stan, the apprentice, Ali Abbasi, cannes dispatch, greg williams
sebastian stan, the apprentice, Ali Abbasi, cannes dispatch, greg williams

Stan, with his sandy wig and pursed lips, portrays Trump as a nuanced sponge to Cohen’s shady mentorship, a kid trying to get out from under the shadow of his father who takes advice we now recognise as his MO, and runs with it. As he grows in capital and stature, the boy becomes a man, the persona fixed.

It’s certainly a big swing for Stan, taking on the depiction of such a divisive, current figure. But the gamble paid off in Cannes – the film received an 8 minute standing ovation at its premiere and prompted discussion on the Croisette. Though Trump himself is threatening to sue to production and disputing the depiction of events.

sebastian stan, the apprentice, Ali Abbasi, cannes dispatch, greg williams
sebastian stan, the apprentice, Ali Abbasi, cannes dispatch, greg williams

‘The hope we have is that people watch the film cos I always feel that there is always something to learn,’ Stan says of the movie that sees Trump betray family and friends, get liposuction and BJs, and bend the truth to his needs. ‘For me as an actor standing next to this brave artist [Abbasi] that I respect and will follow wherever he goes – and all these people that had enough balls to do this project – we have to take on things that are risky and perhaps uncomfortable to talk about. I think it’s important that we do, because it’s in our face every day and we need to have a perspective. And I think there’s a lot to learn from the film.’

sebastian stan, the apprentice, Ali Abbasi, cannes dispatch, greg williams

Sebastian Stan wears Balenciago. Watch by Cartier
The Apprentice premiered at the 77th Cannes Film Festival and will be released later this year. To see our review out of Cannes click here

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EDDIE MARSAN

People don’t really appreciate what a crazy life it is being an actor. If I was a big film star, well, they do maybe two