I Am Spartacus!: Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist
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unaffected by my anger. He didn’t try to argue with me. He simply asked, “Kirk, do you want the part or not?” That stopped me. I was breathing hard, like a runner who had just pushed himself farther than he thought he could go. I suddenly realized that I might have gone too far. I wanted that part. I wanted it bad. So what was the problem? I had served in the navy. I was loyal to my country. It was only a piece of paper. I signed it. But I still felt like a fink. There was no time to think
I hadn’t met this Jackson fellow yet, but I knew his reputation. He was the quickest writer in Hollywood. I knew something else about him too. Although we had hired him under the name of “Sam Jackson,” that was not his real name. It was Dalton Trumbo. And I didn’t give a damn about his politics. I asked Eddie Lewis to set up a meeting with him right away. There was the obvious problem of where to meet, since no blacklisted writer had set foot on a studio lot in more than a decade, and Dalton
well. We shot the opening scene in the mine where Spartacus stops working to help a fellow slave who’s collapsed in the grueling heat. Treating him like a rabid dog, the Romans beat him savagely until he snaps—locking his jaw on a soldier’s ankle and only letting go after he is beaten into unconsciousness. The things I had to do to make a living. Tony seemed to have everything well in hand; the rushes looked good. We had some disagreement over how animalistic Spartacus should be in resisting
Both Walter Winchell and the Hollywood Reporter had printed items suggesting that Dalton Trumbo was the real writer on Spartacus. Hedda Hopper and the American Legion were predictably up in arms at the prospect of Communist sympathizers creeping back into the movie business. More congressional investigations were apparently in the offing. After a dozen years, no studio wanted to be the first to hire a blacklisted writer. I was only an independent producer. I had no power to change the system.
hiring Maltz on Sunday, March 20, 1960, six months before the release of Spartacus. Anne and I were staying at our house in Palm Springs. Frank was our neighbor down there, but he was in Florida performing at what he called one of his “saloon gigs.” Trumbo thought the whole Sinatra/Maltz thing was a terrible idea. He called me to say so. “Kirk, Sinatra is your friend. You have to tell him not to do this. The politics are extremely risky—and not just for Spartacus or Exodus.” “Dalton, the first