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Trump's Troubles, Part III: "The Apprentice" (The Movie)

As many readers will have heard, the world now has its first Trump biopic. It's called The Apprentice, and it was just screened at Cannes, where it was well-received. That title may give the impression that it's about Trump's career as a TV personality, but it is not. It is about the early days of Trump's business career, and his relationship with mentor (and sleazeball) Roy Cohn. In other words, the title references Trump himself, not his TV show.

We have not seen the film, and we do not want to see the film, although by the nature of our work, we may have to see the film. It is not unlike the 5 hours of torture that (Z), as a Civil War historian, was forced to submit himself to when the godawful Gods & Generals came out. That said, even without seeing it, we already know there are two particular sequences that are especially unflattering to Trump. The first is a sex scene with then-wife Ivana that is clearly meant to suggest rape. The second is a sequence that jumps back and forth between Cohn's funeral and a doctor's office, implying that Trump skipped the funeral (which he did) so that he could get liposuction and a scalp reduction to reduce the size of his bald spot (which he also did, but not on the day of the funeral).

Could this film affect Trump politically? Maybe. Images are powerful things, and while the True Believers are going to dismiss the movie as lies, it could serve to remind fence-sitters of some of the more vulgar elements of Trump's character. That said, people have to actually see the movie for that to happen. And Trump, who has apparently never heard of the Streisand effect, is doing his very best to help out on that front, threatening to sue the filmmakers for defamation.

The bar for defamation of a public figure is impossibly high, particularly in a medium like film, where it's baked in that certain liberties will be taken for dramatic purposes. So, we doubt Trump actually will sue, since he's already got more legal bills than he can handle. And if he does sue, it's not going to go anywhere. But just the threat is going to create some buzz and some curiosity, and maybe some of the people Trump doesn't want seeing the film will get to the theater as a result. (Z)

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