The movie is a new film version of the novel based on the 1982 Off-Broadway play which starred Jeff Daniels, rather than a remake of the 1971 feature which Trumbo wrote and directed.
McKenzie plays 'Joe Bonham,' a young American soldier hit by an artillery shell on the last day of the First World War. As a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, nose and mouth, he lies in a hospital bed but remains conscious and able to reason, all the while struggling to communicate with the outside world. The film explores the interplay between science, medicine, religion, and politics.
"What appealed to me about the project was 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."
Bradley Rand Smith adapted the play from Trumbo's award-winning 1939 novel. Since that time the book has sold 100 millions of copies having been printed in 40 separate editions in 30 different languages; the most recent in July 2007 with a new forward written by Cindy Sheehan, whose solider son died in Iraq on April 4, 2004. The one-person stage play, Dalton Trumbo's JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, was first presented Off-Broadway in 1982 at the Circle Repertory Theatre winning Jeff Daniels won an Obie Award for his solo performance.
Trumbo's 1971 film version won the Grand Jury Prize and FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Clips of the film were used by Metallica in their 1989 music video for their song "One" which was based on the novel as well.
McKenzie starred for four seasons as 'Ryan Atwood' on The O.C.; he has also made guest appearances on the television shows JAG, The District, and Mad TV. His feature film work includes roles in the comedy Junebug and the 2007 crime drama thriller 88 Minutes, alongside Al Pacino.
ABOUT THE FILM
Filmed on a bare stage with only a bench and a chair to work with, actor Ben McKenzie gives a riveting tour-de-force performance as an American soldier hit by an artillery shell on the last day of WWI. 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 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.
Here are the pics:
Smart, talented, gutsy, and hot. What more could one want?
More at the movie official website:
And the IMDB page: