Protests. The Democratic National Convention. Systemic racism.
All three topics made headlines this summer. Next month, they’ll play key roles in The Trial of the Chicago 7, ”an Aaron Sorkin movie headed to Netflix.
The film, which was shot in colleges in New Jersey last fall, positions itself as a potential awards season contender and features a star-studded cast. Written and directed by Sorkin, the drama, based on a true story, centers on the tense trial of a group of men who staged protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
The anti-Vietnam War and counterculture events, which followed the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, turned violent when police officers and the National Guard clashed with Some protestors. Organizers Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale and Tom Hayden have been charged with conspiracy and incitement to riot.
Before Netflix has acquired the rights at The Chicago 7 trial Cross Creek Pictures this summer, the film was slated to hit theaters Oct. 2 from Paramount Pictures. The film is now slated for release on October 16 on the streaming service, which released the first trailer on Sunday night.
The film was shot in Chicago and at two colleges in Morris County, both Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison (Florham College campus) and Morristowns. Saint Elizabeth University (which until july was known as the College of Saint Elizabeth).
Staff at Saint Elizabeth University previously told NJ Advance Media that the production arrived at Hyland Hall, a boardroom, and Santa Maria Hall, a building with classrooms and offices.
Nominated for Emmy Awards Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen, “Aquaman”) plays Bobby Seale, president and co-founder of the Black Panther Party, while Sacha Baron Cohen (The Spy, Borat, “” Who is America?) Plays Abbie Hoffman, an activist who co-founded the Youth International Party, whose members were known as the Yippies.
Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) plays Tom Hayden, co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society, and Jeremy Strong (Estate) plays anti-war activist Jerry Rubin. Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) plays William Kunstler, the lawyer who defended men alongside Leonard Weinglass (Ben Shenkman, Billions) from Belleville.
A native of Bayonne, Frank Langella (Frost / Nixon) plays Judge Julius Hoffman, who ordered Seale to be shackled and gagged during the trial. Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Luce) plays Fred Hampton, president of the Illinois branch of the Black Panther Party and vice president of the national party.
Sorkin, who won the 2011 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for the Facebook film The Social Network, “made his directorial debut with Mollys Game” in 2017. He wrote or co-wrote the film scripts such as Steve Jobs, “Moneyball” and The US President. “
The writer-director is known for his direct dialogue, as seen in his NBC television series The West Wing, which has won him six Emmys. (He’s set to reunite with the cast for an HBO Max special this fall.)
The cast playing the rest of Chicago 7 (which consisted of over seven people) are Alex Sharp (The Hustle) as Rennie Davis, an organizer of the National Mobilization Committee to End the Vietnam War; Noah Robbins (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) as Lee Weiner, who became professor of sociology at Rutgers University; and John Carroll Lynch (the founder) as pacifist David Dellinger.
Michael Keaton plays progressive attorney Ramsey Clark, a former attorney general, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception) plays attorney Richard Schultz and JC MacKenzie (Madam Secretary) plays attorney Thomas Foran.
The Chicago 7s were acquitted of conspiracy charges, but some of the men were convicted of crossing state borders to incite a riot. These convictions were overturned in 1972.
The Chicago 7 trial premieres at 3 a.m. ET on Friday, October 16 on Netflix.
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