Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial Of The Chicago 7 will skip its theatrical release and go straight to Netflix, it’s been confirmed. The streaming service finalized a deal for the timely project this week with a reported $56 million offer, according to Deadline.
Sorkin’s film was originally set for a September release, but the uncertain future of 2020’s schedule has taken it out of Paramount’s hands and delivered it to Netflix, who could end up with an awards darling if the movie turns out to be any good. In fact, The Trial Of The Chicago 7 is rumored to still be eyeing that area of the release calendar, due to its central story and themes.
Directed and written by Sorkin, The Trial Of The Chicago 7 is based on the story of, yes, the Chicago Seven, who were charged with several crimes including conspiracy and inciting to riot after a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned violent, so you can probably understand how important it is to the filmmakers that it stays on target and becomes available to audiences before the election in November.
The film has already experienced a tumultuous journey to the screen. Sorkin originally wrote The Trial of the Chicago 7 in 2007, and since then he’s seen Moneyball, The Social Network and his directorial debut, Molly’s Game, come to fruition. Steven Spielberg originally intended to helm The Trial of the Chicago 7, with the likes of Will Smith and Heath Ledger approached to star. Over the years, both Paul Greengrass and Ben Stiller were linked to the director’s chair before Sorkin finally settled on it as his sophomore effort.
Once Sorkin’s film finally gained traction, it hit a roadblock when it was shut down in 2018 after concerns were raised that it wouldn’t “connect with audiences.” Ahead of production starting, period pieces like Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit and Damien Chazelle’s First Man hadn’t made much of an impact, and it was feared The Trial Of The Chicago 7 would suffer the same fate at multiplexes. Weeks passed before Sorkin confirmed that the movie was still going ahead.
“I’m thrilled to be making a movie about one of one of the craziest, funniest, most intense, most tragic and most triumphant trials in American history. C-7 may take place in the late ’60s, but there’s no better time to tell this story than today,” he stated.
One of the key constants in the project aside from Sorkin has been comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who has hung on to one of The Trial Of The Chicago 7‘s main roles as Abbie Hoffman since 2007. Eddie Redmayne, Succession‘s Jeremy Strong (replacing Seth Rogen), John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Spielberg fave Mark Rylance and Joseph Gordon-Levitt now pack out the bumper cast.
There’s been no official release date announcement from Netflix yet, but watch this space.