DALTON TRUMBO'S JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN

Greenwood Hill Productions presents a new critically-acclaimed film adaptation of Dalton Trumbo's legendary anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun.

Ben McKenzie (Southland, The O.C., Junebug, 88 Minutes) stars in a "live on stage, on film" version of the award-winning Off-Broadway monologue, based on Trumbo's literary masterpiece.

The film takes place in the mind of an American soldier hit by an artillery shell on the last day of WWI; a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Regaining consciousness, Joe Bonham discovers that while his brain is healthy and able to reason, the rest of his body is irreparably shattered, leaving him trapped forever within the confines of his own imagination. He struggles to find some way to communicate with the outside world. Tapping his head in Morse code, he breaks through and pleads with his caretakers to be put on display as a living example of the cost of war.

McKenzie currently stars as rookie cop 'Ben Sherman' on the hit TNT series, Southland. He also starred for four seasons as 'Ryan Atwood' on The O.C. His feature film work includes roles in the comedy Junebug, opposite Amy Adams, and the thriller 88 Minutes, with Al Pacino.

"What appealed to me about the project was the fact that the screenplay is very pro-soldier. While it does a great job presenting the book's most famous anti-war passages, it gets just as much power, if not more, from the main character's unflinching resolve to overcome his situation," said McKenzie. "Even though the story takes place in World War I, it is sadly still relevant today. The movie demonstrates so beautifully the fact that you can be both for the soldiers and against the war; that they are not two opposing points of view."

The filmed play is a very faithful, nearly word-for-word, theatricalization of the original 1939 novel, rather than a remake of the classic 1971 film, which Trumbo wrote and directed.

Written by Bradley Rand Smith, in the same stream of consciousness style as the book, it explores the interplay between science, medicine, religion, and politics.

Trumbo's award-winning novel has sold millions of copies, having been printed in more than 40 separate editions in 30 different languages, including a 70th Anniversary edition with a new forward by E.L. Doctorow. It is required reading at many high schools, colleges and universities around the world.


THE DVD

Dalton Trumbo's JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN is now available on a special Educational Edition DVD!

Enjoy the film with your group or class with the included educational / group public performance rights license. Explore the story's themes and the film's unique take on Trumbo's classic work with the video pre-screening and post-screening discussion guides. Learn about the novel's history, adaptations, and influence with the informative Johnny Got His Gun: On and Off the Page feature. And delve into the creation of this unique adaptation of Trumbo's novel with the Johnny Got His Gun Marches On featurette, audio commentary by director Rowan Joseph, cast and crew bios, and more!

Plus, a portion of the proceeds from the purchase of the DVD will go to the Fallen Patriot Fund, assisting families of fallen and seriously injured veterans.

Tight budget? Request a FREE DVD for your school!

THE FILM

Dalton Trumbo's JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN is a cross between Lars Von Trier's Dogville and Jonathan Demme and Spalding Gray's stage monologue, Swimming to Cambodia. All of the action takes place on stage in a black box theatre with minimal scenery. Ben McKenzie gives a riveting tour-de-force performance as an American soldier hit by an artillery shell on the last day of World War I. The movie takes place in the mind of 'Joe Bonham', a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Regaining consciousness, Joe discovers that while his brain is healthy and able to reason, the rest of his body is irreparably shattered, leaving him trapped forever within the confines of his own imagination. He struggles valiantly to find some way to communicate with the outside world. Tapping his head in Morse code, he breaks through and pleads with his caretakers to be put on display as a living example of the cost of war.

The filmed play is a very faithful, nearly word-for-word, theatricalization of the original 1939 novel, rather than a remake of the classic 1971 film, which Trumbo wrote and directed.

THE PLAY

Dalton Trumbo's JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, adapted for the stage by Bradley Rand Smith, was first presented Off-Broadway in 1982 at the Circle Repertory Theatre, starring a then unknown 28-year old actor by the name of Jeff Daniels. Daniels won an Obie Award for his performance in the play and has since gone on to become one of Hollywood's most versatile leading men, having played everything from villains and cads to heroes and romantic leads to tragic figures and lovably goofy idiots, in movies of almost every genre.

Written in the same stream of consciousness style as the National Book Award-winning novel, the 2003 Los Angeles production of Dalton Trumbo's JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN won awards for Best Adaptation, Actor, Lighting, and Sound from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Backstage West, and LA Weekly.

The play has also received critical acclaim via international productions in France, Spain, Portugal, Czechoslovakia, Paraguay, Argentina, Israel, Germany, and Greece.

For information on licensing the stage performance rights to this play send an email to: shane@theatreagogo.com

THE BOOK

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo was written in 1938, inspired in part by a newspaper article Trumbo read about the Prince of Wales' visit to a Canadian veteran's hospital to see a soldier who had lost all of his senses and his limbs.

The book went to the press in the spring of 1939 and was published on September 3, 1939, just ten days after the Nazi-Soviet pact was signed and two days after the outbreak of World War II. It won the 1939 National Book Award.

Myth has always held that the book was banned during WWII; this is incorrect, it went out of press. Although Trumbo, who served as a war correspondent with the U.S. Army Air Forces, stated that had it been banned, he would not have protested very loudly.

The book was out of print again during the Korean War and Trumbo himself purchased the publisher's plates of the book, rather than have them converted into ammunition.

During the 1970's the book was considered a "must read" and it became the moral manifesto for millions of Vietnam War protestors.

In 1971, Trumbo produced and directed a film version of his novel, one of the first independent films ever made. The movie won the Grand Jury and FIPRESCI prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, and it has since gone on to become a cult classic.

Playwright Bradley Rand Smith adapted the novel as a stage monologue for the Circle Repertory Theatre in 1982. The now legendary Off-Broadway production ran for 27 performances and launched the career of a then 29-year-old Jeff Daniels, winning him an Obie Award for his performance. The play has since been performed all over the world, including a 2003 production which won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for best stage adaptation.

The rock group Metallica used clips from Trumbo's film version in creating the hugely popular 1989 music video for their hit song, "One."

In 2008, actor Ben McKenzie starred in a critically-acclaimed feature film version of the Off-Broadway play, which was released by Mark Cuban & Todd Wagner's Truly Indie distribution company in art houses across the U.S. It also marked McKenzie's first starring role in a motion picture.

Since winning the 1939 National Book Award, the original novel has sold millions of copies, having been printed in 30 languages in more than 40 editions, the most recent being a special Seventieth Anniversary reprint with a new forward written by E.L. Doctorow.

The book remains required reading at high schools, colleges and universities around the world.