The film follows the Chicago Seven, a group of seven activists who were charged by the federal government with conspiracy, inciting to riot and other charges stemming from anti-Vietnam War protests that broke out during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Intended as peaceful protests, they instead devolved into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organizers of the protest included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale, and their trial was one of the most notorious in history. It’s a hot-button story, one that is sure to resonate in a presidential election year and at a time when protests over racial injustice are breaking out across the country. Cross Creek financed and produced the film.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” has a starry cast that includes Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton and Mark Rylance. Sorkin, best known for penning the scripts to “The Social Network” and “A Few Good Men” and creating “The West Wing,” directed and wrote the film. He previously helmed “Molly’s Game,” the story of the woman behind an underground poker empire. Jessica Chastain starred and Sorkin picked up an Oscar nomination for its screenplay. He previously won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for “The Social Network.”
The purchase would add another awards contender to Netflix’s slate. The streaming service already has several Oscar hopefuls set to release in the coming months, including David Fincher’s “Mank,” Ramin Bahrani’s “White Tiger,” Ron Howard’s “Hillbilly Elegy,” and George C. Wolfe’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” It has already debuted Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” to critical acclaim. Paramount Pictures originally planned to release the movie in limited release on September 25, 2020, before going wide on October 16, 2020. The hope is that “The Trial of the Chicago 7” will still be able to come out in 2020 ahead of the presidential election in November.
CAA is negotiating the pact with Netflix and unwinding the foreign rights to the film, which were pre-sold. It’s possible the deal will fall apart if that fails to materialize as Netflix likes to control global rights to movies. A spokesperson for CAA did not respond to requests for comment, and spokespeople for Netflix, Cross Creek, and Paramount declined to comment.
Marc Platt, Stuart Besser, Matt Jackson and Tyler Thompson produced the film. Laurie MacDonald, Walter Parkes, Marc Butan, Anthony Katagas, James Rodenhouse, Nia Vazirani, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Maurice Fadida and Shivani Rawat served as executive producers.