Greenwood Hill Productions has completed principal photography on a feature film based on Dalton Trumbo’s classic anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun starring Ben McKenzie.
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….
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.
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.