“He’s larger than life,” Cranston said on playing the writer. “He pontificated. He was a brilliant man. He gesticulated and used colorful language. When I saw more tape of him and read more about him and talked to his daughters I realized, ‘Oh my God, this man is more theatrical than anybody who was ever accused of chewing scenery.'”
Based on the book written by Bruce Cook, “Trumbo” tells the true story of the man who was a member of the Communist party, who shortly after becoming one of the highest paid writers in Hollywood was blacklisted for his party affiliations and sent to prison for contempt of Congress. After being released from prison, the charismatic writer and the rest of the Hollywood Ten continued to write and sell scripts under fake names.
The former “Breaking Bad” star believes a form of blacklisting can still potentially exist today.
“I think now it is more a judgment of society,” he said. “Anyone going on Twitter and doing something stupid or insensitive or racist or sexist, I think society has a way of saying, ‘You know what? I think you need a time-out. You need to step aside and get away from us.’ I think policing of oneself is good in a general sense. I think society has a handle on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior.”
Director Jay Roach wasn’t sure if blacklisting itself could happen today but he does think people exploit fear.
“It’s not uncommon throughout history for people to exploit fear to try to get people to conform to their particular political ideologies,” Roach said. “If you don’t conform and the ideology you can be associated with can be seen as a big enough threat then I absolutely think people could be blacklisted. I think the protections of free speech are much more fragile than people realize.”
“Trumbo” writer John McNamara however doesn’t believe blacklisting still happens.
“I really don’t,” McNamara said. “I think it’s all about money and talent now. And freedom. I don’t think there is any blacklisting that I know of. Maybe I’ll be blacklisted soon, we’ll see.”
The after-party was held in the lobby where guests ate sirloin and scalloped potatoes. The room was decorated with pictures of the Trumbo family and posters for the writer’s movies.
Bleecker Street releases “Trumbo” in theaters Nov. 6. The film also stars Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning, Diane Lane and Michael Stuhlbarg.
(Pictured: Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren at the L.A. premiere of “Trumbo”)