It has been close to 70 years since the start of the Hollywood blacklist, and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s pains during this blemish in show business history still rings true to a number of people in town today. It would be an understatement to call Trumbo a poster boy for free speech in Hollywood; the screenwriter sacrificed his career in refusing to dispense information to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. Despite being blacklisted, Trumbo continued to write under fake names and via fronts, even winning Oscars while he was banned for The Brave One (written under the name Robert Rich) and for Roman Holiday, which was accredited to Trumbo’s front Ian McLellan Hunter (the Academy would recognize Trumbo in 1993 as the true writer of the project and honor him posthumously). When Trumbo was finally given a writing credit on 1960’s Exodus and when Kirk Douglas exclaimed that the writer was the scribe behind Spartacus, such events not only marked a turn for Trumbo, but the dismantling of the blacklist. Seven producers were behind Jay Roach’s biopic about the famed screenwriter, which premiered last night at the Toronto International Film Festival (Bleecker Street plans a November 6 theatrical release). Of those stopping by Deadline/Awardsline’s TIFF studio at the Templar Hotel to discuss Roach and screenwriter John McNamara’s complex take on Trumbo were Shivani Rawat and Monica Levinson, who financed the biopic through their ShivHans level, and Groundswell CEO Michael London.
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