Nov 29, 2023

‘The Apprentice’: Jeremy Strong And Maria Bakalova Join Sebastian Stan In Donald Trump Pic

Here’s one you probably didn’t see coming: Sebastian Stan, the Emmy and Golden Globe nominee known for his work in the MCU and the acclaimed Hulu miniseries Pam & Tommy, has been tapped for the role of a young Donald Trump in The Apprentice, a new film from Cannes prize-winning Iranian filmmaker Ali Abbasi (Holy Spider).

Also aboard the film in major roles are Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jeremy Strong (Succession) and Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3). Production commenced this week.

Billed as an exploration of power and ambition, set in a world of corruption and deceit, The Apprentice will examine Trump’s efforts to build his real estate business in New York in the ’70s and ’80s, also digging into his relationship with infamous attorney Roy Cohn. It’s a mentor-protege story that charts the origins of a major American dynasty. Filled with larger than life characters, it reveals the moral and human cost of a culture defined by winners and losers. Sources tell Deadline that Strong will play Cohn, with Bakalova as Trump’s first wife, Ivana.

News of the project comes as the former POTUS stands trial in New York for fraud. Although currently under multiple indictments in multiple cases, the twice impeached Trump’s eyeing a return to the Oval Office as the current Republican frontrunner for 2024.

The writer for the Apprentice pic is Gabriel Sherman, whose bestseller The Loudest Voice in the Room inspired Showtime’s miniseries The Loudest Voice, starring Russell Crowe as Fox News founder Roger Ailes. Producers are Daniel Bekerman of Scythia Films, Jacob Jarek of Profile Pictures and Ruth Treacy of Taylored Films. Executive Producers are Grant S. Johnson, Gabriel Sherman and Amy Baer, in association with Kinematics as the financier; Mark Rapaport Founder/CEO and Emanuel Nuñez/President.

One of the most versatile actors of his generation, Stan has already memorably portrayed many a real-life figure — most recently stepping in to the role of Robinhood Markets CEO Vladimir Tenev in Dumb Money, Craig Gillespie’s pic on the GameStop short squeeze of 2021, which was released by Sony in September after premiering at TIFF. He previously drew rave reviews for his turns as Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee opposite Lily James’ Pam Anderson on Hulu’s Pam & Tommy, and broke out with his turn as Jeff Gilooly, the abusive spouse of elite figure skater Tonya Harding, in the Gillespie-helmed I, Tonya. Otherwise best known for his work as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier in projects ranging from Captain America: The First Avenger to the forthcoming Thunderbolts, Stan will next be seen in the A24 thriller A Different Man, which he exec produced and stars in opposite Reinate Reinsve.

Currently on his third Emmy nomination for his stellar lead turn on HBO’s Succession, which wrapped up its fourth and final season over the summer, Strong’s other recent credits include James Gray’s Armageddon Time, Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen. He’ll also soon be seen starring alongside Michael Imperioli and more in a Broadway revival of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People produced by Plan B. The strictly limited 16-week engagement begins previews at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, and will open Monday, March 18th.

Bakalova will be seen starring opposite Emilia Jones and Scoot McNairy in the Sofia Coppola-produced drama Fairyland, which world premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Other projects in the can for the actress are the sci-fi dramedy O Horizon and Jerry Seinfeld-directed Netflix pic Unfrosted. In development at Paramount is a Paul-Feig helmed spy comedy in which she’s set to star opposite Stan. The actress broke out with her Oscar-nominated turn in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and was also seen last year in the acclaimed A24 pic Bodies Bodies Bodies.

Directing two episodes for the first season of HBO’s smash hit video game adaptation The Last Of Us, Abbasi’s most recent feature, Holy Spider, premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, where star Zar Amir Ebrahimi won the award for Best Actress. The serial killer thriller went on to be selected as the official Danish entry for the Best International Feature Oscar and was shortlisted, though not ultimately nominated.

A New York Times bestselling author and special correspondent for Vanity Fair, Sherman has also written and served as a consulting producer on ABC’s crime drama Alaska Daily.

Stan is repped by CAA, Brookside Artist Management, and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern; Strong by WME, Sugar23, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller; Bakalova by CAA, Brookside Artist Management, Insight Management & Production in the UK, and Yorn, Levine, Barnes; Abbasi by CAA, LARK in the UK, and Entertainment 360; and Sherman by Hotchkiss Daily & Associates and Entertainment 360.

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