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Kirk Douglas enters an office where Dalton Trumbo stands, points at him, and says, “I am Spartacus.”

“You’re a helluva writer, Dalton, but I’m Spartacus.”

“You will be, when the cameras start rolling. Until then, I’m molding a better man.”

“We already agreed on the script you delivered,” says Douglas.

Trumbo sits and motions for Douglas to do likewise. “Kirk,” he says, “we shouldn’t be melodramatic here. We can make a statement.”

Placing forearms on knees and leaning forward, Douglas aims his cleft chin between Trumbo’s eyes. “We’re not preachers, Dalton. We’re moviemakers.”

“We must change history and make Spartacus and his men less violent. Otherwise, we’re no better than the Romans.”

Douglas nods. “And after my men loot, I warn them, ‘We’re becoming drunken sailors.’”

“But we’re letting them remain so.”

“What do you suggest?”

Dalton Trumbo rises, walks to a large wall map, and hammers Rome. “Here’s the last place we should go.”

“It’s the heart of Roman power.”

“Precisely. We can’t defeat the Roman Empire with a band of slaves.”

“We’re compelled to try.”

“Why?” asks Trumbo.

“Dramatic destiny.”

“How about some common sense? After our escape and victories, we could easily head north, over the Alps, and into Gaul. We could survive.”

“The Romans would pursue us.”

“Not in anything like the numbers we’ll face en route to Rome,” Trumbo says.

Douglas gets up and moves to the map, stabbing Rome with his index finger. “We’re attacking the tyrants.”

“Your real goal is to rob, rape, and kill.”

“That’s not even in the script, Dalton.”

“Only because the Romans will crush you first.”

“Listen, since you’re interested in being so realistic, you pay to make a movie about a bunch of roughnecks who run from the Romans and slaughter thousands of vulnerable people in Gaul.”

“I can make it much more uplifting than that.”

Gripping two fists in front of his muscular chest, Douglas says, “I am Spartacus, the producer, and ready to lose a vast battle to the Romans and be captured and crucified where my beautiful lady, our baby in her arms, will come and beg me to die. That’s the brilliant way you wrote it, Dalton, and why Joseph McCarthy and his red-chasing phonies were so afraid. You know how to move people.”

This entry was posted in Dalton Trumbo, Joseph McCarthy, Kirk Douglas, Movies, Rome, Slavery, Spartacus, Writers.