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  • (dramatic music)

  • (gravel strikes)

  • - You know why you're on trial here?

  • - We wanna underscore again that we're coming

  • to Chicago peacefully,

  • but whether we're given permits or not,

  • we're coming.

  • - There's no place to be right now, but in it.

  • - They're not going to storm the convention

  • with tanks or mace.

  • - Cops is gonna be a half inch from losing their minds.

  • (dramatic music)

  • We're not concerned about it.

  • We're counting on it!

  • - These eight defendants had a plan,

  • and the plan was to incite a riot.

  • They succeeded.

  • (crowd yelling)

  • - We were gassed, beaten, arrested, and put on trial.

  • - [Tom] If blood is gonna flow,

  • let it flow all over the city.

  • - What was that?

  • An order to start a peaceful demonstration?

  • - [Crowd] The whole world is watching!

  • The whole world is watching!

  • - 1968 was a bad year in America.

  • Martin Luther King was shot and killed.

  • Eight weeks later, Bobby Kennedy is shot and killed.

  • And this is all happening against the backdrop

  • of the Vietnam War.

  • The Democratic Convention in Chicago was the place

  • that a number of leaders of the anti-war movement

  • had decided to bring demonstrators.

  • And so activists, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden

  • Dave Dellinger, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Wiener

  • and an eighth Bobby Seale,

  • the head of the Black Panthers,

  • came to Chicago for three days to lead

  • what we're supposed to be peaceful protests.

  • (crowd yelling)

  • That peaceful protest ended up being

  • an incredibly bloody clash with the police

  • and the national guard.

  • We've never really seen anything quite like it

  • in this country.

  • (crowd clashing)

  • - It was a big question of who caused the violence?

  • Did the protesters start the fight

  • or did the police start the fight?

  • And that was a hotly contested question.

  • Ultimately it kind of blew over and no criminal charges

  • were really leveled against anybody.

  • Then Richard Nixon won the election,

  • and decided we are going to press charges.

  • - And we watched for a decade

  • while these rebels without a job,

  • tell us how to prosecute a war.

  • - And so the legal question is whether or not

  • they conspired together to incite a riot

  • at the Democratic Convention in 1968?

  • - I'm not with these guys.

  • I never even met most of them until the indictment.

  • - We will have order.

  • - You have eight of us here.

  • - We will have order. - They have signs out there,

  • free the Chicago Seven.

  • I'm not with them.

  • - One of the wonderful things about this group

  • of eight people within this trial,

  • is they all had very different takes

  • on the same subject matter.

  • They were all bound by the idea that sending

  • these Americans off to fight a war,

  • at a place which they couldn't necessarily pin

  • on a map to a people that they had no engagement

  • or understanding of,

  • was madness.

  • - You can't just put these guys on trial,

  • 'cause you don't like them.

  • (dramatic music)

  • But that's what they did.

  • - I call this portion of the trial,

  • With Friends Like These.

  • - [Man] Ready in five, a few minutes to go.

  • - One of the things I love about this film

  • is that every character has an arc

  • and every character has a moment.

  • And I think it's a testament to the depth of the script

  • and delicious quality of Aaron's writing.

  • He's attracted such a band of players.

  • - We were asking of these people,

  • all of whom can and frequently do carry their own movies

  • to be part of an ensemble, a large ensemble.

  • This story is so big that every single one

  • of these protestors should have a standalone film.

  • It is the finest group of actors, Eddie Redmayne

  • Sasha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt,

  • Mark Rylance, Frank Langella, Yahya Abdul-Mateen,

  • John Carroll Lynch, and Michael Keaton.

  • - It's really something to put that many actors in a room.

  • We're getting to observe all of our different processes

  • and different people on the different days

  • get to sort of have their moment.

  • - Eddie Redmayne plays Tom Hayden and is brilliant

  • in the movie.

  • - We are going to show that we as a generation

  • are serious people.

  • - Tom had a very specific voice,

  • and Aaron was very strong to liberate me early

  • in the script as I was working on my voice.

  • And he said, "I don't want this to be

  • a replica of Tom Hayden."

  • - Yes.

  • - [Eddie] I want you to play my version of him.

  • - Eddie is like ferociously intelligent person

  • and also very generous and has a lot of perspective.

  • - He has such a depth and such an authenticity.

  • and a nobility to his spirit that Tom had.

  • - I think Tom Hayden is a bad-ass of an American patriot

  • I was always interested in Abbie Hoffman.

  • He's this clown who is deeply passionate.

  • He's ready to risk his life.

  • He uses the media for political ends.

  • He's funny.

  • He's cool.

  • He's got amazing hair.

  • - Sasha Baron Cohen,

  • I just can't think of anyone else

  • who could play Abbie Hoffman.

  • Abbie Hoffman still has a kind of iconic mannerism,

  • that iconic Boston accent,

  • and is just a wild guy.

  • - He is a provocateur playing a provocateur.

  • He creates a character that has to be so lifelike

  • that people don't even know he's acting.

  • - In Shakespearean times,

  • the fool was the guy who came and appeared to be the comic,

  • but actually was somehow sort of busy exposing people

  • to themselves?

  • And I feel like what Sasha has done

  • with a lot of his career,

  • is he's made people fall on their own source.

  • - Sasha, as we all know is a brilliant clown.

  • He went to clowning school,

  • and Abbie was a clown who was also the most serious guy

  • in the room.

  • It's, Sasha is too.

  • - In a way, there are two Abbie's.

  • There's the public persona of Abbie where he's trying

  • to inspire people,

  • and there's the private Abbie.

  • So there's the balance between the clown and the intellect.

  • - [Reporter] How much is it worth to you?

  • What's your price?

  • - To call off the revolution?

  • My life.

  • - [Man] Beautiful, that's great guys.

  • Jeremy Strong is just brilliant as Jerry Rubin.

  • Jerry in this story really is the militant in a sense.

  • Put down your guns, fight like men.

  • Laying down in front of the troop train,

  • stopping the troop trains going to Oakland.

  • - He embodies Jerry Rubin's sense of confrontation

  • and provocation both in the scenes and outside the scenes.

  • - He's always in character.

  • He's always believable.

  • He's a great guy to have by your side.

  • You just look to him.

  • (dramatic music)

  • - An actor you're gonna be hearing a lot more about

  • named Yahya Abdul-Mateen, plays Bobby Seale.

  • - When I play a character who is living,

  • one of my first instincts is to understand

  • what they were after.

  • And I wanna understand their soul.

  • I wanna understand their concerns.

  • And my performance is my interpretation

  • of their needs, their wants, their voice, their desires.

  • I'm sitting here saying that I would like to cross examine

  • the witness. - I'm tired of hearing that.

  • - Couldn't care less what you're tired of.

  • - Yahya is doing such a fantastic job

  • of bringing that real sincere emotion to his performance.

  • - Obviously, it was a figure that I knew of

  • from growing up.

  • And in the script,

  • I think Aaron wrote a character

  • that is extremely passionate, smart, witty,

  • stands up for himself.

  • - The way Yahya does it is just,

  • it's powerful and it's direct and it's authentic.

  • And it's a really good representation of Bobby, honestly.

  • - My trial has begun without my lawyer.

  • - Court assumes that you are being represented

  • by the Black Panther sitting behind you.

  • - Throughout the course of the trial,

  • there was one person who was in support

  • of Bobby Seale and that person is Fred Hampton.

  • Fred Hampton was the Chicago leader

  • of the Black Panther Party.

  • - And he was a close advisor to Bobby.

  • And certainly during the trial,

  • and he sat, sits behind Bobby during the entire trial.

  • - Extremely smart, intelligent, passionate.

  • - Four hours!

  • - [Frank] Mr. Hampton.

  • - That's how long Bobby Seale was in Chicago.

  • (audience claps) - Quiet!

  • - That's four hours.

  • - He's not to be defeated.

  • - Aaron Sorkin has done a really smart and interesting thing

  • in creating a character on the antagonistic side,

  • on the prosecutor's side, that isn't just a bad guy.

  • - Richard Schultz,

  • who is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is conflicted.

  • We know from the beginning of the movie

  • he doesn't think they should be prosecuting these guys,

  • but the Attorney General himself has said,

  • You better do this.

  • You gotta win.

  • - You pay me for my opinion.

  • - I pay you to win.

  • - I'm not sure we can get a good indictment

  • on conspiracy, sir.

  • - My parents were peace activists in the '60s and '70s,

  • so I grew up knowing who Abbie Hoffman was,

  • knowing who the Yippies were.

  • These were fairly common ideas and characters

  • in just my family conversation,

  • and my parents were excited to say the least when they heard

  • that I was doing this.

  • And then intrigued, if not dismayed,

  • to hear that I would be playing the prosecution.

  • On top of everything else,

  • we're giving them exactly what they want,

  • a stage and an audience.

  • I admire that he's asking these questions

  • based on principles rather than

  • whether or not he personally likes the people involved.

  • - Now, Dave Dellinger was a Boy Scout troop leader.

  • He was an eighth grade science teacher.

  • He was also a conscientious objector,

  • and believed fervently in nonviolence.

  • - [Boy] What if the police start hitting you?

  • - [David] Why would the police start hitting me?

  • - [Boy] What if they do?

  • - [John] I'll duck.

  • - David, he watches the news.

  • - I'm fortunate in comparison to other people in this film,

  • because Dellinger was so assiduously private.

  • You just have to get it from the material.

  • You're a thug.