There are a lot of things to look forward to about new Netflix movie The Trial of The Chicago 7 – it’s written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, for one, and is also based on a fascinating real life trial from 1968 which remains extremely relevant today.
Perhaps one of the biggest pulls for audiences though is the incredibly star-studded cast who are brining the action to life, with loads of A-listers transforming themselves to play real life figures.
We’ve compiled everything you need to know about the cast below, so read on for all the information about who each cast member is playing and where you might have seen them before.
Sacha Baron Cohen plays Abbie Hoffman
Who is Abbie Hoffman? One of the seven defendants in the trial, Hoffman was a leading proponent of the Flower Power movement and co-founder of the Youth International Party, known as the Yippies. Hoffman’s courtroom antics were frequently headline grabbing, and after the trial he remained an anti-war activist until his death by suicide in 1989.
What else has Sacha Baron Cohen been in? Baron Cohen is best known for his comedic roles – notably as his own creations including Ali G, Borat and Bruno. He also appeared as Thenardier in the film version of Les Miserables, and had roles in Sweeney Todd and Hugo, in addition to voicing King Julian in the Madagascar trilogy.
Eddie Redmayne plays Tom Hayden
Who is Tom Hayden? Another defendant and prominent anti-war activist throughout the ’60s, Hayden would go on to stand for public office on numerous occasions – winning seats in both the California Assembly and California Senate – while he also later director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Los Angeles County. He was married to Jane Fonda for 17 years.
What else has Eddie Redmayne been in? Redmayne has had an assortment of high profile dramatic roles in recent years – winning the Best Actor Oscar for his turn as Stephen Hawking as the Theory of Everything. Other roles have included Marius in Les Miserables, Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl and Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts films.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Richard Schultz
Who is Richard Schultz? Schultz was one of the prosecuting lawyers during the trial.
What else has Joseph Gordon-Levitt been in? Gordon-Levitt first broke through as a child star, appearing in films such as A River Runs Through It, Angels in the Outfield and 10 Things I Hate About You. He has since played a number of high profile roles, with credits including (500) Days of Summer, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Lincoln and Snowden. He recently appeared in the Netflix film Project Power.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays Bobby Seale
Who is Bobby Seale? Seale was a co-founder of The Black Panther Party and was originally one of the defendants in the trial before he was removed due to his frequent courtroom outbursts. He was originally set to be tried at a later date, but that trial never ended up taking place. Seale is still alive today.
What else has Yahya Abdul-Mateen II been in? Abdul-Mateen II starred as Cal Abar in HBO’s recent Emmy award winning adaptation of Wathmen, while other roles have included David Kane / Black Manta in Aquaman and appearances in The Greatest Showman, Baywatch and Us.
Michael Keaton plays Ramsey Clark
Who is Ramsey Clark? A progressive lawyer and activist, Clark was Lyndon B. Johnson’s Attorney General and had discouraged an indictment against the Chicago 7. He refused to prosecute the case and was barred from testifying as a witness by Judge Julius Hoffman.
What else has Michael Keaton been in? Keaton has had many famous roles over the year – and is perhaps still best known for playing Bruce Waynes/Batman in Tim Burton’s films. He also collaborated with Burton in Beetlejuice, while more famous roles have included Birdman, Spotlight and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Frank Langella plays Judge Julius Hoffman
Who is Judge Julius Hoffman? Hoffman was the judge who oversaw the trial and quickly became the subject of accusations of bias. He frequently clashed with the defendants and their lawyers during the trial.
What else has Frank Langella been in? Four-time Tony Award winner Langella has had an extensive career on stage and screen, including playing Richard Nixon in both the Broadway play and film version of Frost/Nixon. He has also appeared in The Twelve Chairs, Dracula, Good Night, and Good Luck and Robot & Frank, while fans of FX series The Americans will recognise him as Gabriel.
John Carroll Lynch plays David Dellinger
Who is David Dellinger? Another of the defendants, Dellinger was a radical pacifist and continued his activism after the trial until his death in 2004.
What else has John Carroll Lynch been in? Lynch first found fame as Norm Gunderson in the Coen Brothers film Fargo and has also made appearances in Face/Off, Gran Torino, Shutter Island and Zodiac as well as several series of American Horror Story.
Mark Rylance plays William Kunstler
Who is William Kunstler? Kunstler was a radical lawyer and civil rights activist who served as one of the main defence lawyers during the trial. He was criticised by the judge for his long hair, while the trial saw him become one of the best known lawyers in the US.
What else has Mark Rylance been in? Rylance won an Oscar for his supporting turn in Bridge of Spies while he has also had notable film roles in The Other Boleyn Girl, Dunkirk and The BFG. He is very well known for his stage work, winning three Tony Awards and two Olivier Awards, and also appeared as Thomas Cromwell in BBC Two’s adaptation of Wolf Hall.
Alex Sharp plays Rennie Davis
Who is Rennie Davis? Another defendant and prominent anti-war activist of the ’60s, David would later become a follower of Guru Maharaj Ji and a venture capitalist – founding the Foundation for a New Humanity.
What else has Alex Sharp been in? Sharp is perhaps best known for his stage work, winning a Tony for his role in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time while on screen he’s been seen in The Hustle and How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
Jeremy Strong plays Jerry Rubin
Who is Jerry Rubin? Another defendant and one of the co-founders of the Youth International Party, Rubin was a prominent anti-war leader and counterculture icon, before becoming a businessman in the ’80s.
What else has Jeremy Strong been in? Strong is probably best known for his role as Kendall Roy in HBO drama Succession, while big screen roles have included Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Selma, The Big Short and Sorkin’s previous film Molly’s Game.
The cast also includes: Noah Robbins as Lee Weiner, Daniel Flaherty as John Froines, Ben Shenkman as Leonard Weinglass, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Fred Hampton, Caitlin FitzGerald as Daphne O’Connor, Alice Kremelberg as Bernardine, John Doman as John N. Mitchell, J. C. MacKenzie as Tom Foran, Wayne Duvall as Paul DeLuca and Rory Cochrane as Homer.