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It used to be rare for Hollywood to reward itself at the Oscars. However, in recent years there has been a surge in the number of Oscar-winning movies that chronicle the making of movies and this year "Trumbo" could well join those ranks. This acclaimed film by Jay Roach ("Game Change") tells the true story of Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston), who was blacklisted in the 1950s for being a member of the Communist Party. -Break- Dish all the Oscar races in our red-hot forums with Hollywood insiders Three of the last four Best Picture champs were all about Hollywood: "The Artist" (2011), in which a silent film star fights to stay relevant, "Argo" (2012), which detailed the real-life scheme to rescue hostages from Iran by using a fake movie as a cover story, and "Birdman" (2014), a raw look at awashed up movie-star hoping for a Broadway comeback. But those were all heroic stories about artists. »
Following the Trumbo première attended by Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Michael Stuhlbarg and Louis C.K., as well as Dalton Trumbo's daughters Niki Trumbo and Mitzi Trumbo, director Jay Roach mapped out for me the links between birds, Edward G. Robinson's art collection, Otto Preminger, Kirk Douglas and Spartacus; USC, Edward Dmytryk and Lee Grant; Roman Holiday, 30 Seconds Over Tokyo and A Guy Named Joe; Kitty Foyle, Ginger Rogers' mother, Hedda Hopper's hats and horse manure; Bertolt Brecht's Hollywood poem and Myrna Loy's radio show.
While Taylor Hackford, Dana Delany, Kathleen Turner, Elle MacPherson, Tony Bennett, Susan Crow, Julie Taymor, Robert Wuhl, Kate Lardner, Ruben Blades, Tim Daly, Trumbo screenwriter John McNamara, producers Michael London, Kevin Kelly Brown, »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Kirk Douglas weighed in yesterday on Deadline with his stamp of approval for the new film , Trumbo. Now see the filmmakers – director Jay Roach, writer John McNamara, producer Michael London – spill the secrets on how the film came together and how they pulled off a story of one of the most shameful times in the nation’s and Hollywood’s history. New distributor Bleecker Street devoted its entire session to Trumbo at our big awards season all day event , The Contenders… »
Some great actors are contained and reserved. They turn their wattage off and on. Others stay close to their emotions. As I interviewed "Boardwalk Empire" star Michael Stuhlbarg (the gangster Arnold Rothstein) at a Pain Quotidien near his apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side, he was most animated when he accessed a character, their emotions flickering across his face. Suddenly I was looking into the pained, sad eyes of Edward G. Robinson in "Trumbo" or anxious Andy Herzfeld in "Steve Jobs." In a crazily competitive year for supporting actors seeking award recognition (many of them leads, to my mind), I hope voters will remember Stuhlbarg. As the great Warner Bros. star ("Little Caesar," "Double Indemnity") in Jay Roach's "Trumbo" over several decades, we see his tragic role in the Hollywood blacklist. It's where the emotion is in the film. That's why theater star Stuhlbarg is a go-to actor beloved by. »
- Anne Thompson
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reunite for "Sisters," a new film from "Pitch Perfect" director Jason Moore about two disconnected sisters summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house. Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high-school-style party for their classmates, which turns into the cathartic rager that a bunch of ground-down adults really need.
Fey produces the comedy alongside Jay Roach ("Meet the Parents" series) and John S. Lyons ("Austin Powers in Goldmember"), and Poehler executive produces alongside Jeff Richmond and Brian Bell from a script by Paula Pell (TV’s "Saturday Night Live," "30 Rock").
Kellvin Chavez Rt @LRNews: »
- Kellvin Chavez
The newest big screen “golden age of Hollywood” biography represents something of a 2015 trilogy, a hat trick, if you will. It doesn’t focus on the illustrious career of a celebrated actor or actress, but there are some stars involved and in support. No, this is the story of a legendary screenwriter, yes an idea man. The man in question is one Dalton Trumbo, a fellow nearly as theatrical as the thespians reciting his words. Beyond his work, he was perhaps best known as the most famous of the “Hollywood Ten” during the Communist “witch hunts” of the 1950’s. So the “cold war” is the backdrop for this bio, much as it was for Bridge Of Spies, the true life drama, and that frothy spy send-up, The Man From Uncle, both released earlier this year. It’s odd that this is the last film to arrive in theatres, though its events precede the other two. »
- Jim Batts
Written by John McNamara
Directed by Jay Roach
There is much to admire in Trumbo. The new biographical drama about the blacklisted “Hollywood Ten” has the assured direction of Jay Roach, a typically-brilliant performance from Bryan Cranston, and avoids the self-congratulatory smugness that plagues most films about persecuted liberals. It’s bizarre, then, that Trumbo never quite sparks to life. The lack of sanctimony oddly undermines the story’s rabblerousing energy, reducing this wannabe emotional powerhouse to a slick history lesson. Still, it’s a history lesson worth learning, and Cranston is a far more entertaining teacher than anyone you’ll find on campus.
When American screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Cranston) refused to testify before Congress about his involvement with the Communist Party, he effectively pulled the plug on his Hollywood career back in 1947. Trumbo, along with his 9 co-defendants (known as the Hollywood Ten), are convicted of contempt, sent to prison, »
- J.R. Kinnard
Exclusive: Kirk Douglas has released a statement to Deadline regarding Trumbo, a new movie he plays a key part in (even if he isn’t actually in the film itself). The movie, directed by Jay Roach and written by John McNamara, tells the story of famed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted in Hollywood after the House Un-American Activities Committee nearly destroyed his career in the Communist witchhunt of the 40’s and 50’s. Trumbo even went to prison for a spell… »
Marvelously balances the silly and the solemn. There’s almost a whiff of the Coen-esque in its slick sharpness, in its whistling past the graveyard. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
For a prestige drama about one of the more shameful periods in American history (there are a lot of those), Trumbo is surprisingly funny. And thank god for that. It feels good to laugh at the idiocy surrounding the Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s, if only so that you don’t have to think too much about how widespread support for the most unAmerican things — all in the name of America, naturally — has been a constant refrain in American public discourse. You have to be a special kind of sheltered not to hear such nonsense demanding to »
- MaryAnn Johanson
"You're living up to people's sense of sacrifice and the nobility of their cause and injustice that they went through," says actress Diane Lane about her true-life role in the new film "Trumbo." She plays Cleo Trumbo, the devoted wife of Dalton Trumbo, one of the top screenwriters in the 1940s who refused to testify when called before the House Un-American Activities Committee about communists in the film industry. In our recent interview (watch below or click here), Lane adds that the family "was being punished, vilified, criminalized for their American right to have political beliefs that were out of the mainstream. The diversity that democracy is supposed to afford us is to be able to disagree." -Break- Related: Watch our chat with Bryan Cranston ('Trumbo') Emmy and Tony Award winner Bryan Cranston plays the blacklisted screenwriter in the film direced by Jay Roach. Elle Fanning, who takes on t. »
Governors Awards recipient Spike Lee reminded hundreds of Hollywood heavy-hitters about their failure at diversity, warning that “You better get smart” about making films that represent the population — because by 2043, Caucasians are going to be the minority in the U.S.
Lee’s 15-minute speech was delivered in a calm and genial manner, concluding Saturday’s awards ceremony that also honored Debbie Reynolds and Gena Rowlands. Lee said when he goes through Hollywood offices, there are only white faces, and the only person of color is the man checking the name at the door. “This industry is so behind, is ridiculous.” He said it’s apparently easier for a black person to become president of the U.S. than the head of a studio or TV network.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs opened the evening by urging Hollywood to move ahead on diversity, saying “Words »
- Tim Gray
Chicago – Director Jay Roach loves his work, heading into another phase of his successful career. The man who directed the first two “Austin Powers” films is now taking on movie and American history with “Trumbo,” featuring Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) as the 1950s blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.
The “black list” was a partnership between government and the film industry. Whenever a writer, director or actor would not “name names” to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (Huac) of the the 1950s, they effectively ended any chance of getting hired in Hollywood. Huac was looking for Communists, as the threat from Soviet Russia at the time was seen as the greatest menace to American freedom. Never mind that Russia was a ally of the U.S. only ten years earlier during World War II, or that being a Communist was not illegal in America. It was a witch hunt, pure and simple, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
- Jazz Tangcay
Directed by Jay Roach.
Starring Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Michael Stuhlbarg, John Goodman, Louis C.K, Alan Tudyk, David James Elliott, Dean O’Gorman, Christian Berkel, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Sean Bridgers, and Helen Mirren.
In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood’s top screenwriter until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.
Not to steal what director Jay Roach admitted during a special Q&A in Chicago regarding what he wished the tagline for Trumbo was, but what would you do if your ability to work and support loved ones were wrongfully snatched from you due to having a set of political beliefs and principles that don’t line up with the masses? You could stick to your guns and fight the system, risking everything you have honestly earned, or simply sell out those beliefs for easier living.
- Robert Kojder
The holidays are fast approaching, as are awards deadlines. So it’s time for Oscar voters to catch up on some films — including documentaries.
In 2009, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences expanded the best-picture race, which so far has included animated and foreign-language works. But no documentaries yet. Maybe this year can change things. Docs offer some of the best work being done, but they’re not always easy to find, with fewer screeners sent out.
For a look at the 124 docus eligible this year, see Variety’s special edition Nov. 10. Meanwhile, as awards voters try to catch up on 2015 contenders, think of this as a pledge drive with matching funds: For every narrative film you watch, try to see a documentary. Here are a few traditional films matched with docs, which can make for good binge viewing.
“Everest” and “Sherpa”
Baltasar Kormakur’s film (with its great below-the-line »
- Tim Gray
Though he was once Hollywood’s highest paid screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo (who penned Roman Holiday and Spartacus) reach a heightened level of fame in the 1940s. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for his award-winning writing. Trumbo was a member of the American Communist Party, and after an investigation by the Un-American Activities Comitee, was sentenced to a year in jail.
He, along with nine other screenwriters, became part of the infamous Hollywood Ten. Blacklisted and unable to work with any film studio for over a decade, Trumbo began writing scripts under various pseudonyms.
Bryan Cranston portrays the scribe in the Jay Roach-directed Trumbo. Though set against the glitzy backdrop of the Hollywood Golden Age, the film captures a portion of American history that is certainly painful to revisit. After a successful run on the festival circuit, the movie finally hit theatres this past weekend, and we were on hand at »
- Justine Browning
If you love "Roman Holiday"—or God forbid have never seen it—Turner Classic Movies is partnering with Fathom Events to screen William Wyler's charming 1953 classic romance in theaters for two days. On November 29th and December 1st, select U.S. theaters will show the Oscar-winning film at 2 and 7pm, with a special introduction from TCM host Robert Osborne. Read More: How 'Trumbo"'s True Hollywood Blacklist Story Got Made Starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, "Roman Holiday" won three Academy Awards, including Best Actress, Best Costume Design and blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo's Best Screenplay—which was not credited to him. Bryan Cranston plays the irascible screenwriter, who eventually fought off the Hollywood blacklist— thanks to fearless Kirk Douglas ("Spartacus") and Otto Preminger ("Exodus")— in Jay Roach's biopic "Trumbo," which is holding its own at the crowded fall awards season box »
- Anne Thompson and Ruben Guevara
Among the many biopics swarming Academy voters this year (much like every other year), few will take you as much by surprise as Trumbo. I say this as someone who was very much surprised by how entertaining this look at screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and the Hollywood black list was, despite heavy material that could have turned into one big lecture. With a delightfully good performance by Bryan Cranston in the title role, there’s tons to like here. It opened this past weekend in limited release and might wind up a bit of an Oscar dark horse, provided it’s not swallowed up by some higher profile biopics… The film tells the tale of how writer Dalton Trumbo (Cranston) was targeted by anti Communists and almost had his life ruined. At one time the top scribe in Hollywood, he was sent to prison and black balled from having his screenplays »
- Joey Magidson
Trumbo producer Kevin Kelly Brown confided that they were surprised at Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper's ferociousness and actually had to tone her down, while Helen Mirren at the after party mentioned that she wasn't surprised at all by the gossip queen's viciousness. Bryan Cranston captured Dalton Trumbo's physicality, his real-life daughters Niki Trumbo and Mitzi Trumbo confirmed to me, as they waved to Ring Lardner Jr.'s daughter Kate Lardner, author of Shut Up He Explained: The Memoir Of A Blacklisted Kid.
Bryan Cranston: Yeah! You know, it's wonderful. I watched a lot of his [Trumbo's] films again - Roman Holiday, Spartacus, The Brave One. Even, like, 30 Seconds Over Tokyo and Kitty Foyle and I re-read his Johnny Got A Gun novel that he »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
'Trumbo' movie: Bryan Cranston as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and Helen Mirren as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. 'Trumbo' movie review: Highly entertaining 'history lesson' Full disclosure: on the wall in my study hangs a poster – the iconic photograph of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, with black-horned rim glasses, handlebar mustache, a smoke dangling from the end of a dramatic cigarette holder. He's sitting – stark naked – in a tub surrounded by his particular writing apparatus. He's looking directly into the camera of the photographer, his daughter Mitzi. Dalton Trumbo's son, Christopher Trumbo, gave me the poster after my interview with him for the release of Peter Askin's 2007 documentary also titled Trumbo. That film combines archival footage, including family movies and photographs, with performances of the senior Trumbo's letters to his family during their many years of turmoil before and through the blacklist, including his time in prison. The letters are read by, »
- Tim Cogshell
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