Tag Archives: Bryan Cranston

Trumbo, Red scares & the art of writing in the bath

Trumbo bath tubI’ve been eagerly awaiting the Australian release of Jay Roach’s Trumbo, the biopic of the late Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo. It touches on two interests of mine: post-war US film history, particularly the events around the Hollywood blacklist, and the process of writing.

Based on Dalton Trumbo, a biography by Bruce Cook, the film is roughly split into two parts. The first deals with the events leading up to and around the House of Un-American Activities Committee hearings into communist influence in Hollywood. Trumbo, played well enough by Bryan Cranston, is a novelist turned screenwriter and one of many high profile members of the Hollywood movie community swept up in the hysteria around the hearings. A former Communist Party member and fellow traveler, he is also unashamedly rich as a result of his writing, the ‘swimming pool socialist’ as he is referred to at one point in the film. Trumbo’s politics are interesting in the light of claims I have read that the film, which took eight years to make, was a hard sell because its main subject was too left wing. Called to testify before Committee he resisted considerable pressure to name other fellow travelers and, as result, was black listed from working in Hollywood and given an eleven-month jail sentence for contempt of Congress.… Read more


After months of anticipation I finally got to see Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive on the weekend.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a really good crime movie at a mainstream multiplex cinema. Maybe Ben Affleck’s The Town, although it went down hill fast whenever it tried to move away from the heist theme and get into the characters.

Drive is not perfect, hell what film is, but it was damn close in my view, certainly up there with the best contemporary crime films I’ve seen.

The movie is very loosely based on the 2005 book of the same name by James Sallis. Ryan Gosling plays ‘Driver’. By day he works as a stuntman and fixes cars in a garage owned by his mentor, Shannon (Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame, although he will forever be associated in my mind as the father from Malcolm in the Middle, which for me is what makes him come across as so bent).

Driver’s expertise at what he does is established in the film’s first ten minutes, a fantastic high-speed chase thought the streets of LA scene during which he eludes a police dragnet.

His credo is simple:

“If I drive for you, you get your money. That’s a guarantee. Tell me where we start, where we’re going and where we’re going afterwards, I give you five minutes when you get there.Read more