Casting Call: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Published August 6, 2013

In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

1968 is often referred to as the worst year in American history, with the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, the civil rights riots—and, not to mention, the Chicago Democratic Convention protests against the Vietnam War, which led to the famous trial of the Chicago Seven. In August 1968, 15,000 people gathered in Chicago to protest for five days and nights, despite incessant floggings and tear gas. When it was all over though, only eight demonstrators, known as the Chicago Eight—and then the Chicago Seven—were indicted and brought to a grand jury. The eight were charged with conspiring together to cross state lines with the intent to start a riot, teach others how to make “incendiary” weapons, and to impede law enforcement. One of the original eight, Bobby Seale, who was also a Black Panther activist, couldn’t keep his cool in court and was sentenced to four years in prison before the trial was even over.

Then there were seven. The trial dragged on for months, attracting media attention worldwide, and [spoiler alert!] in the end, five of the seven were found guilty of violating the anti-riot provisions of the Civil Rights Act and sentenced to five years in prison. In 1972 an appeal reversed these convictions, finally freeing the Chicago Seven.

Steven Spielberg was said to be directing The Trial of the Chicago 7, written by Aaron Sorkin, years ago, but after abandoning production in 2008 director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy; Bourne Ultimatum) has now revived the script with DreamWorks and Disney. Click through the slideshow above to see our casting picks.

Casting Call runs every Friday. For more, click here.