May 21, 2024

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

Words by JANE CROWTHER


Ali Abbasi’s take on the origins of Donald Trump’s take-no-prisoners MO plays as a scuzzy 70s version of the Shakespearean Hal/Falstaff dynamic that stop short of his political career but includes plenty of cheeky prescience towards the 45th former POTUS’ now famous traits.

We meet Trump (Sebastian Stan) as a debt collector for his disapproving Dad (Martin Donovan) and a wannabe real-estate player with dreams of building the best hotel in a Manhattan riddled with vice and poverty. A New Yorker who wants to see the city bounce back from 70s debt and lawlessness, make cash and get out from under Daddy’s shadow, Trump is a callow water-drinking youth ripe for shaping when he meets infamous lawyer, Roy Cohn (Jeremy Strong) in a private members club. A ruthless, influential and feared man who hangs out with crime kingpins and will do whatever it takes to win a case, Cohn sees potential in Trump – taking him under his wing to teach him three rules for being a ‘killer’ in life. It’s advice viewers will recognise; attack, attack, attack; the truth is fluid, never admit defeat.

As Cohn’s mentorship (in dressing, media manipulation, networking) takes hold Trump’s image begins to crystallise – the navy suits, the helmet hair, the hyperbole – and he sheds his past. His father is eclipsed, his troubled brother jettisoned, his wife Ivana (Maria Bakalova) betrayed… and Trump gets liposuction, his bald patch removed, his face looks more and more like, in Ivana’s words, ‘an orange’.

Though Stan portrays Trump with some signature moves (hand gestures, his stiff neck, the pouting) his performance is nuanced, getting to the heart of the stone-cold ambition and narcissism that took him from knocking on doors for rent money to the oval office. And he throws himself into the more cartoonish moments with relish as Trump meets Andy Warhol, gobbles speed, gets blow-jobs from casino girls and worries about his weight while refusing to exercise. 

But the more interesting aspect of the film is not necessarily the rise of an international figure, it’s the man who shaped him. Strong is repellent and reptilian as Cohn, an unblinking mercenary who oozes malevolence and misanthropy, and ultimately, one of the first people Trump stabs in the back. Though a controversial marital rape scene horrifies, drawing audible gasps from the Cannes audience, it’s Cohn’s treatment at the hands Trump that really strikes a nerve in a movie that dramatises known aspects of his rise to power.


Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice starring Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Strong, Maria Bakalova and Martin Donovan is screening at the 77th Cannes Film Festival. Release date TBC

hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
willem dafoe, cannes dispatch, cover, kinds of kindness

CANNES DISPATCH 11 …
As Yorgos Lanthimos’ Kinds Of Kindness bowed at Cannes Film Festival, the film – a triptych of contemporary tales starring Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Jesse Plemons – got a standing ovation and a flurry of engaged reviews lauding a challenging film with no easy answers. ‘Listen, I’m a total cheerleader for festivals,’ smiles Dafoe when Hollywood Authentic sits down with him in a Carlton Hotel suite on the Croisette. ‘This is not a popcorn movie. So when it comes to a festival, it starts a discussion, and that’s a good way to make contact with a critical world.’  

Though he’s made so-called popcorn movies during his long and illustrious career, Dafoe is well known for collaborating on invigorating films that prompt discussions on meaning that often start at festivals before moving the lobbies of cinemas globally, and Kinds Of Kindness marks another piece of provocative work as the actor plays three roles. In the first story, he’s a businessman with an idiosyncratic wardrobe who minutely controls every aspect of the life of his subordinate (Plemons). In the second he essays the father of Emma Stone’s lost-at-sea wife who returns to her cop husband (Plemons) and arouses suspicion that she may not be who she seems. And in the third, Dafoe is a cult leader who is sexually permissive and cries tears into a vast vat of sacred water, sending his acolytes (Stone and Plemons) out into the world to find the group’s new messiah. 

willem dafoe, cannes dispatch, cover story, kinds of kindness

Having previously worked with Stone and Lanthimos on last year’s acclaimed Poor Things, Dafoe was intrigued by the script as soon as the director offered it to him during post production on their period awards winner. He didn’t hesitate in jumping in again. ‘Poor Things was such a good experience. Yorgos is a filmmaker that I’ve always followed, and have always enjoyed. And he’s so good with actors. He gives you really fun stuff to do. He’s very playful. He’s very intellectually curious. It’s a very conscionable and very creative set. So, to work with him again was fantastic.  Also, this structure was interesting, the fact that we’re playing three different characters. It became very clear that [Lanthimos] didn’t want this to be a showy thing of actors transforming. Because they’re three distinct films, but they’re all obviously thematically related. And they’re all different, given each different world, and our function in that world. For example, in the first one, I have a pretty substantial role; in the second one, quite a smallish role; and in the third one, a medium role. How I fall into those worlds is different each time. But it’s the same group of people, dealing with the same kind of mentality and themes.’ It also meant re-teaming with Bella Baxter herself, in Emma Stone. ‘Emma, I adore!’ he enthuses. ‘She’s really fun to work with.’

Those themes then; all the stories explore control and cruelty, the weird and illogical kindnesses that humans do for each other in marriage, business, friendship, faith. And each story, while not related, informs the next as a viewer. But like all of Lanthimos’ work, the meaning is defined by each audience member – a Rorschach test in cinematic form. ‘It’s a little bit of a Russian doll,’ Dafoe nods of the project. ‘But you work so hard to just try to be engaged with what’s in front of you. You know, that’s one of the tricks of an actor: that’s your world, so you want the other parts to fade away, because you don’t want to point to those things, or be too tied to that. You want a fresh start each time.’

willem dafoe, cannes dispatch, cover story, kinds of kindness
willem dafoe, cannes dispatch, cover story, kinds of kindness

While playing Stone’s Dad required Dafoe to tap into his affection for his co-star (‘I just cued off my love for Emma’), playing a cult leader did have him looking into real-life examples. ‘I’m fascinated by the nature of cults. I looked at a documentary that I think Jesse recommended to me called Holy Hell, also I liked Wild Wild Country. Not so much because I need that to figure out how to play a cult leader. That’s not it. The themes are there. You know, the kind of devotion, the need to give your freedom up to someone else, or dedicate yourself to something outside of yourself. All those themes, the power dynamics, the things about sexuality – they’re all in that. You’re swimming in that pool. You’re not necessarily taking something, and seeing something, and saying, ‘I’m going to do that’. It’s just to get you in that head.’

Lanthimos is also known for his rehearsal process before filming, another aspect that Dafoe was drawn to. ‘Yorgos is very good at making a company. Rehearsal is not so much to deal with the text, or even talk about character, except to play games and get comfortable with each other. And that’s very helpful. So once you finish that rehearsal period, you feel very comfortable with each other, and everyone is kind of on the same footing. And it’s a good way for you to understand Yorgos, what his impulses are, what he likes, and what he tends to go towards. You get in his head a little bit. And it’s always good any time you can get that in a movie, because then people stop worrying about that old thing of, ‘leave your ego at the door’.’

willem dafoe, margaret qualley, cannes dispatch, cover story, kinds of kindness

Dafoe will be digging into ego, legacy, fame and the impact of praise on the soul with his next project, a film he’s also in Cannes to launch. Late Fame, adapted from Arthur Schnitzler’s 19th century Vienna-set novella, switches the time period to 70s New York with Dafoe playing a poet long forgotten by society. Until, that is, his poems are rediscovered and feted. Sandra Hüller will play a Broadway actress and fan of his work who challenges his ideas of genius. Directed by Kent Jones, the film starts shooting in New York this Autumn. The project was sparked by creative serendipity for Dafoe.

‘The Schnitzler novel that it’s adapted from, a friend brought to me, independent of this production, and said, ‘I think there’s a movie here’. I was carrying it around when I happened to meet the director, and we started talking. To make a long story short, we came together on it but from separate places. We were both reading this, and were interested in this, at the same time. And then it’s Samy Burch who wrote this beautiful adaptation that sets it in New York at a time that I was in New York, and it was a very special time, the late ‘70s. It’s very rich material. It expresses a very particular time, and it has lots of interesting ruminations about fame and personal history and memory and ambition, and about what it is to aspire to be an artist.’

willem dafoe, cannes dispatch, cover story, kinds of kindness

Kinds Of Kindness premiered at the 77th Cannes Film Festival and will be released later this year. Late Fame starts shooting in autumn this year, release TCB

May 26, 2023

jude law, firebird, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams
hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
jude law, firebird, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams

CANNES DISPATCH 10
Jude Law moments before the world premiere of Firebrand, for which he has received unanimous praise for his explosive performance as King Henry VIII.

Law stars alongside Alicia Vikander as his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, in the film directed by Karim Aïnouz, which screened in competition at the 76th Cannes Film Festival.

jude law, firebird, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams
jude law, firebird, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams

Jude Law wears custom Brioni, styled by William J Gilchrist and grooming by Alain Pichon

hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
natalie portan,may december, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams

CANNES DISPATCH 9 …
Natalie Portman returns to Cannes for Palme d’Or nominated film, May December, directed by Todd Haynes, with Portman and Sophie Mas acting as co-producers on the film under their production company MountainA.

The story follows actress Elizabeth Berry (Portman) who travels to Maine to speak with Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore) to do research for a film about her notorious tabloid romance with Joe Yoo (Charles Melton), a school boy at the time, and twenty-three years her junior.

natalie portan,may december, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams

Natalie Portman wears Chopard jewels and Dior

hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
lily-rose depp, the idol, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic

CANNES DISPATCH 8
Lily-Rose Depp stars in new Sam Levinson-directed drama, The Idol, co-starring Abel Tesfaye, AKA The Weeknd. The HBO show premiered at the 76th Cannes Film Festival.

Following a nervous breakdown that caused the cancellation of her last tour, Jocelyn (Depp) is determined to reclaim her rightful status as the greatest pop star in America. She begins a complex relationship with nightclub owner Tedros (Tesfaye).

lily-rose depp, the idol, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic
lily-rose depp, the idol, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic
lily-rose depp, the idol, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic

Lily-Rose Depp wears Chanel, hair by Alexandry Costa, make-up by Sandrine Cano Bock

hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
salma hayek pinault, women in motion, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, kering

CANNES DISPATCH 7 …
Salma Hayek Pinault is in Cannes supporting Women In Motion, the program founded by Kering in 2015 as an official partner of the Cannes Film Festival, highlighting inequalities in the field of culture and the arts. Women In Motion’s latest Talks series from Cannes offers a platform for prominent figures to share their views on women’s representation in their field.

salma hayek pinault, women in motion, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, kering

Salma Hayek wears Balenciaga and Gucci jewels, styled by Rebecca Corbin-Murray, hair by Jennifer Yepez and make-up by Sofia Tilbury

hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
marion cotillard, little blue girl, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic

CANNES DISPATCH 6
Marion Cotillard is in Cannes for a special screening of Little Girl Blue, a French-Belgian docudrama that tells the story of the mysterious disappearance of director Mona Achache’s mother, the author Carole Achache, played by Cotillard.

The Oscar-winning actress also currently stars in Apple TV+’s dystopian, climate-focussed series Extrapolations, with episodes starring Meryl Streep, Gemma Chan, Edward Norton and Sienna Miller.

marion cotillard, little blue girl, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams
marion cotillard, little blue girl, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams

Marion Cotillard wears Chanel, styled by Eliott Bliss, hair by Wendy Iles and make-up by Christophe Danchaud

hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
alicia vikander, firebird, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams

CANNES DISPATCH 5
Alicia Vikander stars in Karim Aïnouz’s Firebrand, which screened in Competition at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. Vikander plays Catherine Parr alongside Jude Law as King Henry VIII. The story – adapted from Elizabeth Fremantle’s 2013 novel, Queen’s Gambit – details the life of the King of England’s sixth and final wife.

Hollywood Authentic met with the Oscar winning actor on the Côte d’Azur ahead of the world premiere.

alicia vikander, firebird, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams
alicia vikander, firebird, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams

Alicia Vikander wears Louis Vuitton, styled by Victoria Sekrier, hair by George Northwood and make-up by Kelly Cornwell

hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
cate blanchett, aswan reid, the new boy, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams

CANNES DISPATCH 4
Cate Blanchett is in Cannes for the world premiere of The New Boy, from Caméra d’Or winning director Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah), in which she stars and also serves as a producer under her production company, Dirty Films.

The film is inspired by Thornton’s own experience of growing up as an Aboriginal boy in a Christian boarding school. Set in rural South Australia in the 1940s, the story centres around a 9-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy (Aswan Reid) who catches the attention of Sister Eileen (Blanchett), who with fellow nun (Deborah Mailman), take an interest in the unusual boy and the mysterious occurrences as he arrives.

Cate Blanchett is joined by cast members Aswan Reid, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair and director Warwick Thornton, moments before they attended the film’s world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival.

cate blanchett, aswan reid, the new boy, cannes film festival, cannes dispatch, hollywood authentic, greg williams

Cate Blanchett in Louis Vuitton by Nicolas Ghesquière, styled by Elizabeth Stewart, make-up by Mary Greenwell and hair by Nicola Clarke. And Aswan Reid in Louis Vuitton