Ex-Commanders owner Dan Snyder ‘fumes over negative portrayal of Donald Trump in movie he financed to flatter ex-POTUS’

Former Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder is reportedly fighting the release of ‘The Apprentice,’ a Cannes Film Festival submission about his friend and Republican candidate Donald Trump, because the film is insufficiently flattering to the 45th President.

Despite its title, the new film starring Jeremy Strong as Trump’s attorney and fixer, Roy Cohn, is not about the real estate mogul’s famed NBC reality television series. Rather, it depicts Trump’s early business career and his turbulent relationship with his first wife, Ivana, played by Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova.

As reported by Variety, the film is financed by a Snyder-backed company, Kinematics, which does not own the rights and cannot prevent the movie’s release. However, Kinematics reportedly has a voice in the sale and distribution of the film, and that could complicate its release significantly.

Snyder reportedly thought he was investing in a flattering portrayal of Trump, but became upset in February with multiple aspect of the project and began weighing in on potential changes.

The screenplay reportedly included Ivana’s rape allegation against her ex-husband, which she recanted before passing away in 2022 and which Trump has denied. A version of the scene is included in the current cut of the movie and one insider described it to Variety as ‘violent’ and ‘uncomfortable.’

Jeremy Strong (left) portrays Roy Cohn in the film opposite Sebastian Stan’s Trump (right)

Donald Trump (L) and Roy Cohn attend a party at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington in 1983

Donald Trump (L) and Roy Cohn attend a party at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington in 1983

Snyder dons a Washington Commanders facemask after changing the team's name in 2022

Snyder dons a Washington Commanders facemask after changing the team’s name in 2022

Snyder attorneys John Brownlee and Stuart Nash of Florida‘s Holland & Knight did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment, nor did Gabriel Sherman, who wrote the screenplay. Similarly, Iranian-Danish director Ali Abbasi and his agency, CAA, declined comment to Variety.

Kinematics president Emanuel Nuñez has commented publicly, insisting that the creative differences on the project are between himself and the filmmakers, without giving any mention to Snyder.

‘All creative and business decisions involving ‘The Apprentice’ have always been and continue to be solely made by Kinematics. [CEO Mark H. Rapaport] and I run our company without the involvement of any other third parties.’

Snyder isn’t The Apprentice’s only investor. According to Variety, the Canadian, Irish and Danish governments all have a stake in the film as well.

The Apprentice was set to premiere at Cannes on Monday. It’s unclear if Snyder will be in attendance, although his yacht was reported to be off the coast of Cannes as recently as Monday afternoon.

Snyder is a supporter of Trump and gave a reported $1.1 million to the 45th President’s inauguration fund, which also received similar contributions from other NFL owners such as the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft and Dallas Cowboys‘ Jerry Jones.

The 59-year-old billionaire sold the team in 2023 amid multiple waves of sexual harassment allegations against the team and Snyder specifically. Snyder was first fined $10 million by the league and later $60 million following multiple league investigations and congressional hearings.

Donald Trump is pictured alongside his attorney, Roy Cohn, who passed away in 1986 at 59

Donald Trump is pictured alongside his attorney, Roy Cohn, who passed away in 1986 at 59

Snyder also took criticism over his refusal to change the team’s racist nickname, the Redskins, before being slammed by conservatives for reluctantly dropping the moniker in 2020.

‘The Apprentice’ stars Sebastian Stan as Trump. The central relationship of the movie is between Trump and Cohn, the defense attorney who was chief counsel to Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s Senate investigations.

Cohn is depicted as a longtime mentor to Trump, coaching him in the ruthlessness of New York City politics and business. Early on, Cohn aided the Trump Organization when it was being sued by the federal government for racial discrimination in housing.

‘The Apprentice,’ which is labeled as inspired by true events, portrays Trump’s dealings with Cohn as a Faustian bargain that guided his rise as a businessman and, later, as a politician. Stan’s Trump is initially a more naïve real-estate striver, soon transformed by Cohn’s education.

That reported rape scene and others make ‘The Apprentice’ a potentially explosive big-screen drama in the midst of the US presidential election. The film is for sale in Cannes, so it doesn’t yet have a release date.

In The Apprentice actor Sebastian Stan plays Trump as a younger man (pictured)

Ivana (pictured, left) was married to Donald Trump (pictured, right) from 1977 to 1990

In The Apprentice actor Sebastian Stan plays Trump as a younger man (left).  Ivana (pictured, near right) was married to Donald Trump (pictured, far right) from 1977 to 1990

In the press notes for the film, Abbasi, whose previous film ‘Holy Spider’ depicts a female journalist investigating a serial killer in Iran, said he didn’t set out to make ‘a History Channel episode.’

‘This is not a biopic of Donald Trump,’ said Abbasi. ‘We’re not interested in every detail of his life going from A to Z. We’re interested in telling a very specific story through his relationship with Roy and Roy’s relationship with him.’

Regardless of its political impact, ‘The Apprentice’ is likely to be much discussed as a potential awards contender. The film, shot in a gritty ’80s aesthetic, returns Strong to a New York landscape of money and power a year following the conclusion of HBO’s ‘Succession.’ Strong, who’s currently performing on Broadway in ‘An Enemy of the People,’ didn’t attend the Cannes premiere Monday.

‘The Apprentice’ is playing in competition in Cannes, making it eligible for the festival’s top award, the Palme d’Or. At Cannes, filmmakers and casts hold press conferences the day after a movie’s premiere. ‘The Apprentice’ press conference will be Tuesday.

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