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FROM THIS EPISODE

Bryan Cranston is a great actor, but he also knows how to pick great roles, from his Emmy-winning run as Walter White in Breaking Bad, to his Tony-winning turn as LBJ on Broadway. Now he takes on the title role in Trumbo, the new film about screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and the Hollywood blacklist. Cranston and Trumbo director Jay Roach tell us how they collaborated to bring a complicated, historical story to life.

Photo: Director Jay Roach (R) and actor Bryan Cranston (Dalton Trumbo, L) discuss a scene on the set of Trumbo (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle)

Producers:
Kaitlin Parker

Hollywood News Banter 6 MIN, 4 SEC

TV Guide magazine chief content officer Michael Schneider joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • Quentin Tarantino attended a rally protesting police brutality, and police unions are not happy. They're calling for a boycott of Tarantino's upcoming film The Hateful Eight, but it's doubtful they'll be able to make much of an economic impact. Tarantino is standing by his statements, reminding people that he did not call all cops murderers and that he has First Amendment rights.
  • It hasn't been a great fall for the broadcast networks, but strangely, there have been no cancellations. Several series have had their episode orders cut back though. This year it seems like "trimmed" is the new "canceled."
  • The explosion in streaming TV services continues. Jon Stewart announced a four-year deal with HBO where he'll be making digital shorts for HBO Go and HBO Now. And a new Star Trek series is coming to CBS in 2017, but only via their streaming service, CBS All Access.

Guests:
Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)

'Trumbo' 21 MIN, 15 SEC

In the 1940's Dalton Trumbo was one of the highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood. He was a prodigious writers whose films included Kitty Foyle and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.

He was also a member of the Communist Party.

That became a huge liability in the years following World War II, when the House Un-American Activities committee ruthlessly tried to root out communism where it existed and even where it didn't. As the committee pursued communist influence in Hollywood, Trumbo was called to testify but refused to answer questions. In 1950, he spent 11 months in prison and was subsequently blacklisted, making it dangerous for anyone in Hollywood to associate with him, much less hire him.

Trumbo's struggle to earn a living and outlast the blacklist is the subject of Jay Roach's new movie Trumbo. Bryan Cranston plays the embattled writer.

Even while he was blacklisted, Trumbo wrote Academy Award-winning screenplays for Roman Holiday and The Brave One, but he couldn't take his bows because both scripts were written under assumed names.

The villain of Trumbo is gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, played by Helen Mirren, who became obsessed with sniffing out any whiff of communism in Hollywood.

By 1960, she lost the battle when Kirk Douglas and director Otto Preminger separately agreed to put Trumbo's name on their latest projects, Spartacus and Exodus.

Jay Roach, who has directed comedies including Austin Powers and Meet the Parents is no stranger to political films. He's won Emmys for two HBO movies about recent political history: Recount and Game Change. Those films caught the eye of producer Michael London, who hired Roach for Trumbo. Roach felt one thing was imperative to bring the script to life -- they had to talk to the Trumbo daughters.

Trumbo died in 1976 but his daughters, Niki and Mitzi, both recall living through their father's travails, and both served as consultants on Roach's film. He says their input was essential, but also complicated because the daughters didn't always see the story the same way.

Cranston and Roach worked to take the sometime differing stories from Trumbo's daughters, as well as other perspectives, to bring a historically accurate version of Trumbo's life and triumph over the blacklist to the big screen.

Guests:
Bryan Cranston, actor, voice actor, screenwriter, director and producer (@BryanCranston)
Jay Roach, film director, producer and screenwriter

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