TRUMBO from screenwriter John McNamara


trumbo“This was literally non-paid labor for seven or eight years,” screenwriter John McNamara laughs when asked how he came across the idea to write Trumbo, the biopic about Hollywood’s most famous blacklisted screenwriter. “I wrote the screenplay on spec back in 2008. It’s the best David and Goliath story that Hollywood and Washington D.C. have to tell.”

The film is set in the late 40s and early 50s, and it chronicles screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s quest to keep his politics and his job in a time when both were under fire. In order to make a living during the years he was blacklisted, Trumbo wrote several screenplays under numerous aliases. One of those scripts turned into the Oscar-winning film Roman Holiday, of which Trumbo was given credit for nearly 60 years after its release.

And apparently, some of the other scripts Trumbo wrote were churned out in only three days. It’s true, says McNamara. Turbo was immensely prolific and one of the fastest writers in Hollywood.

ScreenwritingU sat down with McNamara to hear about writing on Trumbo and serving as showrunner on David Duchovny’s Aquarius and Syfy’s The Magicians at the same time. How does McNamara get all this writing done? He writes on his back in a zero gravity chair — not a bathtub like Trumbo.

Trumbo releases into theaters November 6 and stars Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren and Louis C.K.


Watch the trailer here:

Photo credit: Bleecker Street



Jenna Milly is Editor-in-chief of ScreenwritingU Magazine, an inside source for the latest scoop from the screenwriter's POV on upcoming movies. She interviews some of the top writers in Hollywood for such movies as The Revenant, The MartianMission: Impossible and many others. She co-created the TBS microseries Gillian in Georgia. She earned her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a M.F.A. in Screenwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. She has written for, The Los Angeles Times, Script Magazine, TwelvePoint, and a variety of magazines. You can follow her on Twitter: @jennamilly

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