A new poster for Jay Roach’s upcoming Trumbo teases some of the questions that 1940s Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo refused to answer by not testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Bryan Cranston will be portraying the titular Trumbo in the film, who was blacklisted and jailed for 11 months as a Communist during the ordeal (though he wrote under pseudonyms and even won two Academy Awards for Roman Holiday and The Brave One).
A new interview with Roach in Vanity Fair sheds a little more light on the film. Roach says, in discussing the anti-Communist fervor of 1947:
The idea that these talented men were plotting to overthrow America through movies was a very, very interesting idea, and it gained a lot of traction. I’m very interested in how ideas become contagious, and especially how very bad ideas become contagious.
Roach also commented on Helen Mirren’s role as the gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, whose relationship with Trumbo was antagonistic:
Hedda Hopper is a great nemesis for him. It’s so interesting to go back to a time where very talented people from all layers of the industry were very divided.
The film will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and is then set to premiere in theaters in November. Trumbo also stars Elle Fanning, Diane Lane, John Goodman, Louis CK, Michael Stuhlbarg, and David James Elliott as John Wayne, another of Trumbo’s true-to-life nemeses.
Here’s the official synopsis for Trumbo:
The successful career of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) comes to a crushing end when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. TRUMBO (directed by Jay Roach) tells the story of his fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom, which entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and John Wayne to Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.