Trumbo: Bryan Cranston as Blacklisted Writer Dalton Trumbo

Bryan Cranston appears as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in a trailer for Trumbo, an indie feature directed by Jay Roach.

The trailer shows Trumbo appearing before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, before being blacklisted as a Hollywood screenwriter. “Many questions can be answered yes or no only by a moron or a slave,” he tells his accusing politicians.

Trumbo’s ploy, as portrayed in the movie to debut next month at the Toronto Film Festival, is to write movies without his name on scripts for Hollywood classics like Roman Holiday and Spartacus. “The blacklist is alive and well, and so is the black market,” Trumbo declares.

Trumbo was an in-demand screenwriter during the 1940s and was also a member of the Communist Party. His career came to a screeching halt when the House Un-American Activities Committee called on several Hollywood writers and directors to testify about Communist activities.

Trumbo refused to give information and became part of the Hollywood 10, a group blacklisted by the studios. “If we get one big movie, we can get all the big movies,” he pleads at one point in the trailer.  Trumbo served 11 months in jail.

Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, John Goodman, Helen Mirren and Diane Lane also star in Trumbo, which is set for a November 6 release by Bleecker Street.