The next time you see some politician demonizing Hollywood actors as unpatriotic, remember the name Dalton Trumbo. He was one of Hollywood's top screenwriters back in the 1940s, and had just signed a deal to become the highest paid writer in the country. But he was also a Communist, and when the House Unamerican Activities Committee came after him, Trumbo refused to cooperate. He and other writers were blacklisted in 1947, but he kept on writing under a pseudonym and won two Oscars, one for Roman Holiday and another for The Brave One, undermining the entire system of fear that had emerged.
In the new film Trumbo, the courageous screenwriter is portrayed by Bryan Cranston in what is his most prominent feature lead role. Directed by Jay Roach and co-starring Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning, Diane Lane, John Goodman, and more, the film chronicles Trumbo's struggles as part of the Hollywood Ten, the effect being blacklisted had on his family life, and his emergence as a crusader against injustice.
I had the chance to talk with Cranston and Roach about Trumbo, and what they see as some of the parallels to our current political climate.