It’s been 67 years since Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted in the movie-making industry as a result of investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee of the time, but his story will soon unfold on the big screen with Bryan Cranston in the lead. Directed by Jay Roach (Meet The Parents) and written by John McNamara (The New Adventures Of Superman), Trumbo has now added rising star Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje to its cast – bringing with him the recognition borne of his previous roles in Lost, Oz, Pompeii and Thor: The Dark World.
Trumbo tells the story of this troubled screenwriter, who was part of the so-called ‘Hollywood Ten’ (made up of screenwriters and directors) that were cited for contempt of Congress in 1947 for refusing to testify to the committee about their alleged involvement with the Communist Party. He was convicted, and served 11 months in Ashland Federal Prison in 1950, leaving him then unable to work in his beloved industry.
Defiant, Trumbo continued to write under a variety of pseudonyms – winning two Academy Awards in the process. He was eventually revealed to have been responsible for the scripts of Spartacus and Roman Holiday, among others. With Cranston playing Trumbo, Akkinuoye-Agbaje has signed on to portray Virgil Brooks – a “powerful and severe” man, working at the facility in which the screenwriter is temporarily imprisoned. Helen Mirren, Diane Lane and John Goodman will also star – lending their impressive talent to this timely tale.
With the issue of privacy and the excessive invasion thereof being a topic foremost in the minds of most people right now – thanks to influential individuals such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch and whistleblower Edward Snowden – it is almost inevitable that Hollywood would look to its own past to find appropriate morality tales. Such tales are, of course, numerous, since the House Un-American Activities Committee sought to uncover whether Communist propaganda was being quietly threaded through the output of American film studios. While Trumbo’s experiences of this process have been played out many times on the theatre stage, and in the 2007 documentary, Trumbo, it is Jay Roach’s Trumbo that benefits from such an excellent cast – the performances of whom we will reportedly be able to enjoy sometime in 2015.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter