I really like history but I have to admit, I didn't know anything about the Chicago Seven until I read about Aaron Sorkin's new movie. Well, here's the gist, in 1968, during the Democratic National Convention, police attacked Vietnam War protesters with tear gas and batons.
Now, Aaron Sorkin brings together a cast starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Frank Langella, Jeremy Strong, and more for a movie about the mayhem and the legendary court case that followed.
And it's set to debut in October...
Sorkin, like me, had never really heard of the story, but when he met with Steven Spielberg 14 years ago, he realized it was a great story for a movie. So, he dove deep into the research. This was going to be a Sorkin/Spielberg collaboration but he wanted the movie to come out before the 2008 election. A 2007 Writers Guild strike suspended the project.
After seeing Molly's Game, Spielberg encouraged Sorkin to pursue directing the movie himself.
Sorkin tweaked his screenplay to underline the uncanny similarities between then and now—and there were some scary ones. "Lock them up" chants and even people carrying signs asking for "White Rights."
BY NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX
But this is history seen through the lens of Sorkin, so expect the snappy dialogue and walk-and-talks that have come to define him as Hollywood's highest-paid writer.
But this is unlike other Sorkin movies—this one runs 2 hours long, which is muted for him. At the core is this question, “How did we go from what was supposed to be a peaceful anti-war demonstration to this incredibly bloody and violent confrontation?”
BY NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX.At the core of the story is a courthouse drama. That means some scenes have 300+ people in them, with people cheering and reacting to the scenes. It was an energetic feeling that the actors and director embraced as they went through the takes.
“It was fantastic,” Baron Cohen recalls. “We’d do a take and when we stopped, 300 extras were cheering and applauding. I felt like I was watching a brilliant Broadway production.”
Obviously, this movie finished shooting before the pandemic. but the way the world has changed in 2020 makes it seem as though the message is even more necessary now. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Sorkin wrote them an email that said, “The movie was relevant when we were making it...We didn’t need it to get more relevant, but it did. The polarization, the militarization of the police, the fear of Black activists, even the intramural battle between the left and the far left. To say nothing about [Black Panther] Fred Hampton being murdered by the police during the trial. At this performance, the role of Mayor Daley is being played by Donald Trump.”
The film will be available for streaming on Friday, October 16, 2020 exclusively on Netflix.
Are you excited?
Let us know in the comments.