Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s acclaimed career comes to a crushing halt in the late 1940s when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. Directed by Jay Roach, Trumbo tells the story of the Oscar-winning writer’s war with the U.S. government and studio bosses over words and freedom, which entangled Hollywood icons from Hedda Hopper and John Wayne to Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.
In the 1940s, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is one of the highest paid screenwriters in the world, penning movie classics including the Oscar-nominated Kitty Foyle and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. A fixture on the Hollywood social scene, and a political activist supporting labor unions, equal pay and civil rights, Trumbo and his colleagues are subpoenaed to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as part of its sweeping probe into communist activity in the U.S. Trumbo’s refusal to answer the congressmen’s questions lands him in a federal prison and earns him the eternal enmity of powerful anti-communist gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren).
For the next 13 years, all of the major Hollywood studios refuse to hire Trumbo for fear of being associated with his perceived radical political views. Forced to sell his home and ostracized by friends, colleagues and neighbors, Trumbo struggles to feed his family by writing mostly low-budget movies under assumed names. But he never gives up fighting for what he believes in. Ultimately, Trumbo prevails when star Kirk Douglas and director Otto Preminger each put the screenwriter’s real name on screen in their respective 1960 blockbusters, Spartacus and Exodus, effectively bringing the blacklist era to an end.
An astonishing portrait of an often forgotten chapter of American history, Trumbo is directed by Jay Roach (“Game Change,” Meet the Parents) from a script by John McNamara (“Aquarius,” “Prime Suspect”), based on the book Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Cook. The film stars Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad,” Argo), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra, Suicide Squad), Louis C.K. (“Louie,” American Hustle), David James Elliott (“JAG,” The Stranger I Married), Elle Fanning (Maleficent, We Bought a Zoo), John Goodman (The Gambler, Argo), Diane Lane (Man of Steel, Unfaithful), Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man, Blue Jasmine), Alan Tudyk (42, Frozen), and Helen Mirren (The Queen, Woman in Gold).