Last month, in her column on classic film, Nerdist’s own Michelle Buchman laid out the sorry history of embattled writer Dalton Trumbo. A talented and ferociously principled man, Trumbo came under fire in 1947 when he was named as one of the so-called “Hollywood Ten”, a group of suspected Communists who refused to testify before Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee and name fellow Reds.
Along with the other sympathizers, Trumbo was blacklisted from working in Hollywood, made into a persona non grata in the very industry that he once thrived in with such films as Five Came Back and Kitty Foyle. Undeterred, Trumbo continued to churn out screenplays under false names or through friends, until he was gradually accepted back into Tinseltown in the late ’60s. He was retroactively recognized for his work on the script for Spartacus, and symbolically, the era of blacklists and paranoia came to a proper end.
This sensational life story forms the basis of the biopic Trumbo, which debuted its first trailer today (embedded above). Having completed his systematic domination of television, Bryan Cranston moves to the silver screen to portray the lightning-rod writer. He’ll be joined by Diane Lane as Trumbo’s wife Cleo, Elle Fanning as daughter Nikola, and Helen Mirren as gossip-mongering columnist Hedda Hopper.
Summer’s still in full swing, but this trailer’s got the heady reek of late-autumn Oscar fare all over it, right from the museum-quality art design to the actor-driven biopic beats of strength under fire. Cranston’s a stone-cold talent and director Jay Roach has some experience with this sort of material through his involvement with HBO’s original movies Game Change and Recount; ideally, Trumbo will sidestep the shallow sentiment of last year’s The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game.