BEVERLY HILLS – After a solid run through at Toronto, Jay Roach’s very true Hollywood story, “Trumbo,” finally made its way to Los Angeles and there was no more appropriate place to hold its premiere than the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
“Trumbo” tells the story of Dalton Trumbo, an Academy Award nominated screenwriter (1940’s “Kitty Foyle”) who was also a registered communist from 1943-1948. When the House Un-American Activities Committee began investigating imagined Soviet infiltration in the movie business Trumbo was called to testify along with nine other screenwriters. The infamous “Hollywood Ten” did not cooperate during the hearing and were charged with contempt of Congress. Trumbo spent a year in jail and upon his release was “blacklisted” from working in the industry. Under pseudonyms and a fellow writer’s name he still found a way to support his family nd won screenwriting Oscars for both “The Brave One” and “Roman Holiday.” For all the film’s faults (and the first half is still full of them) there was something amazing about watching the picture in what, effectively, is the Academy’s house of worship.
On hand were stars Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning and Michael Stuhlbarg as well as Roach and screenwriter John McNamara. The latter spoke first noting how long it took to get his script to the screen and at this rate his next picture will arrive sometime in 2046 (for his sake we hope that remains a joke). Roach then spoke about the relevance the film has today smartly comparing this sad era in American history has to the recent House Benghazi hearings sarcastically noting “that never happens in a modern world.”
It remains to be seen how much of an impact “Trumbo” will have this awards season. Bryan Cranston still has an excellent shot to make the Best Actor cut and if the movie has any legs John Goodman could surprise with a scene stealing Supporting Acting performance (although how many times have we written that over the years?). Screenplay, ironically the film’s subject matter, will be tough with an insanely competitive race in the Adapted category. Overall though, newbie distributor Bleecker Street may just have to celebrate their first year with some expected SAG, Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards love.
“Trumbo” opens in select cities on Nov. 6.