Bryan Cranston on 'Trumbo': "Our Government Sent People to Prison for Committing No Crime"

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
'Trumbo' stars Diane Lane and Bryan Cranston at the L.A. premiere.

Helen Mirren, Diane Lane and Elle Fanning were among those at the film's L.A. premiere on Tuesday in Beverly Hills.

Stars Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Michael Stuhlbarg, David James Elliott and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and director Jay Roach promoted their film Trumbo Tuesday night at its L.A. premiere at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Trumbo, based on the book by Bruce Cook and adapted for the screen by John McNamara, tells the true story of talented Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Cranston), who was jailed and blacklisted for his political beliefs. One of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten, Trumbo, who wrote such hits as Roman Holiday (1953) and Spartacus (1960), was forced to write his screenplays under different pseudonyms. In the film, producer Frank King (John Goodman) asks Trumbo incredulously, “You don’t want your name on it?” And Trumbo replies, “No, you don’t want my name on it.”

Director Jay Roach tells THR: “The tone of the film is driven a lot by how Trumbo came across as a person. And we cast Louis C.K., John Goodman, people who could do the whole range of serious drama all the way to ironic, dry wit. All of the Hollywood Ten were kind of smart-ass, great writers.”

Adds Roach: “Trumbo’s wit enabled him to survive that period and gave him the strength to expose the absurdities of the system and get it to change.”

Cranston, who portrays Trumbo in the film, tells THR about that period of time: “Our government was set up to have checks and balances. And they’re there to mitigate mistakes. They are there for cooler heads to prevail. They’re there to have objective viewpoints come in before making policy decisions. And these are very important things that were discarded during this time.”

He adds: “This was a period in time when our government sent people to prison for committing no crime, but they just didn’t like the answers given.”

As for why Trumbo’s story remains relevant decades later, Lane, who plays Dalton’s wife, Cleo, believes “it’s a cautionary tale.” She tells THR: “It’s important to tell the stories because of the fact that that could ever happen. You go, ‘We really did that? That really happened?’ We are walking on the bones of history. And we mustn’t forget it, so we don’t be it.”

Trumbo hits theaters Nov. 6.

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