Netflix released the first teaser trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s new legal drama film, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” on September 13. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen as social activist Abbie Hoffman, the movie has a stellar ensemble cast including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale, John Carroll Lynch as Dellinger, Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin, Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as prosecutor Richard Schultz, Frank Langella as Judge Julius, Michael Keaton as Ramsey Clark and Mark Rylance as William Kunstler, among many others.
Based on a true story, Sorkin’s new film portrays the infamous 1969 trial that charged seven defendants with conspiracy. The charges arose after their involvement in Chicago’s 1968 counter-cultural protests during the Democratic National Convention. The trial sparked a national dialogue about inciting riots and causing social unrest to undermine the United States government.
This is not the first film adaptation of the Chicago 7. However, the trailer for Sorkin’s film has dropped at a poignant time. Ongoing waves of social unrest within the US and the upcoming presidential election make the film’s release seem particularly relevant.
Like with any Aaron Sorkin release, there are already Oscar-talks for the film. Sorkin is responsible for some of the best courtroom trial scenes. Whether from his 1993 film “A Few Good Men” or the 2018 Broadway adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” – there’s no doubt that the filmmaker has a knack for legal dramas.
The adaptation was originally considered for a stage play. But, Sorkin decided instead to make a film about the Chicago 7, as he wanted to depict the riots cinematically. “We’re telling three stories at once,” Sorkin said at the virtual Toronto International Film Festival. “There’s the courtroom drama, there’s the sort of a more personal story between Abbie and Tom, and then the third is the evolution of that big riot on the final night of the convention.”
“Staging that was something I was pretty scared of,” he revealed. “I had only directed one movie before this – it had 11 people in it. This movie was going to have tear gas and riots, but I got a lot of help from the Chicago Police Department.”
The teaser has already amassed nearly half a million views and is expected to reflect “the demonization of dissent” in current times, according to the filmmaker. Although the film portrays serious social issues, Sorkin pointed out that the “movie ends looking up.”
“You do feel good at the end,” he said.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” streams worldwide on Netflix starting October 16.
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