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Casting Watch: Bryan Cranston Will Play Blacklisted Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in Upcoming Biopic

Casting Watch: Bryan Cranston Will Play Blacklisted Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in Upcoming Biopic

Well, this is exciting. Bryan Cranston, star of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” will play blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in an upcoming biopic, “Trumbo.”

John McNamara penned the script, adapted from the book by Bruce Cook. It centers on Trumbo’s status as Hollywood’s highest paid screenwriter, to a man imprisoned in 1950 for refusing to answer questions hurled at him by HUAC (House UnAmerican Activities Committee), to a prolific screenwriter operating under false pen names, to the man who ultimately broke the blacklist when given his real screen credit in Otto Preminger’s “Exodus,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus,” starring Kirk Douglas, both made in 1960.

Jay Roach, who in 2012 took home a DGA award for “Game Change” starring Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin, is helming. He’s perhaps most well-known for the “Austin Powers” films and the first two films in the “Meet the Parents” franchise. So we’ll see what he does with this distinctly unfunny and dark chapter in American history.

The film is set for a 2014 start, and marks Cranston’s first major role following the hotly popular AMC series, for which he’s won three Emmys — and is nominated for another one at the annual Emmys ceremony this coming weekend (September 22). “Breaking Bad” has its final episode September 29.

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Let me guess, the takeaway of the film will be that the big mean HUAC was bullying the poor little commies who just innocently wanted to overthrow the government.


I, for one, would love to see a biopic about Trumbo, provided it's warts and all and doesn't gloss over the contradictions in his life, which he himself was the first to acknowledge, e.g. being the highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood and also a card-carrying communist, and living like a king down in Mexico during the blacklist where he wrote the scripts fronted by others. Just read his own accounts of those days–he left an awesome paper trail–to get the right tone for the movie. Don't romanticize. He didn't. And I hope it shows the divisions that existed among the Hollywood Ten. It could be an epic drama about Hollywood. I hope it uses lots of film clips and archival footage. I hope it includes Otto Preminger, who broke the blacklist by giving Trumbo his first post-blacklist onscreen credit, for EXODUS, and Kirk Douglas, who planned to do that with SPARTACUS but was beaten to the punch by Preminger. Cranston seems like a good choice for the role.

Chad Boyan

Hope there is a good chunk of the movie involving "Johnny Got His Gun".

Should be interesting.


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