“Prisoners talk about doing time,” the condemned man says. “On the Row, there is no time. Clock stopped moving the minute we was sentenced.”
Here is the first trailer for Trial by Fire, director Ed Zwick’s controversial film that premiered at Telluride last year. It’s the true-life Texas story of the unlikely bond between a death row inmate and a mother of two from Houston who, though facing staggering odds, fights mightily for his freedom.
Cameron Todd Willingham (Jack O’Connell), a poor, uneducated heavy metal devotee with a violent streak and a criminal record, is convicted of arson-related triple homicide in 1992. (“Any man can’t save his own kids don’t deserve to live,” he says.) During his 12 years on death row, Elizabeth Gilbert (Laura Dern), an improbable ally, uncovers questionable methods and illogical conclusions in his case, and battles with the state to expose suppressed evidence that could save him. Her efforts ultimately fail, and since Willingham’s execution, the disturbing question remains: Did Texas execute an innocent man?
“I did not kill my own children, Elizabeth,” Willingham says in their initial jailhouse meeting. “I love them more than I love life itself.”
Geoffrey Fletcher wrote the pic based on The New Yorker article “Trial by Fire” by David Grann and the letters of Cameron Todd Willingham. Emily Meade co-stars. It’s produced by Allyn Stewart, Kipp Nelson, Edward Zwick and Alex Soros, with Kathryn Dean and Marshall Herskovitz as exec producers.