In 1953, Dalton Trumbo won his first Oscar for writing Roman Holiday, but the man who went up to the podium (and whose name was on the film) was Trumbo’s friend Ian McLellan Hunter. Three years later, Trumbo won a second Oscar for The Brave One, but the name engraved on the statuette was “Robert Rich.” Why did he need a human stand-in and a pen name if he was doing such stellar work? Because he had been blacklisted after serving nearly a year in prison for contempt of Congress.
You see, there was a hilarious time in American history that we all look back on and laugh at because it was dominated by members of the government being terrified of ideas that were different from their own. Although it’s difficult to imagine a United States Senator (and a Republican at that!) railing against a leftist agenda in Hollywood today, it’s of paramount importance that we remember Trumbo and his experience as persona non grata. It was his Communist Party affiliation that Joe McCarthy and pals feared, but it was the studio heads who were cowardly enough to bar Trumbo and others from working.
There’s already a documentary about him called Trumbo, and according to Deadline Hollywood, that will also be the name of a new movie from Jay Roach — following up on his political interests explored in The Campaign — and screenwriter John McNamara. Bryan Cranston will play Trumbo as the mustachioed artist battles against the blacklist while secretly writing (and earning those Oscars). The project plans to shoot early in 2014 after they rewrite the script to include more scenes of Trumbo in tighty-whities.