Mark Rylance and his role in “The Chicago 7 Trial”: “I hope there is a lot of him in me” | Arts and culture

This Thursday, October 16, he debuts on Netflix The Chicago 7 trial, the new movie of Aaron Sorkin based on one of the most controversial judicial episodes of the late sixties in the United States, all this in the middle of the “countercultural revolution.”

The plot delves into the judicial and political consequences of the protests that in 1968 they concentrated on the outskirts of the Democratic National Convention, marked by police repression and the slogan that at that time brought together thousands of young people: the withdrawal of North American troops from the Vietnam War.

The violent street clash between protesters and members of the Police and National Guard led to a trial against the main organizers of the demonstration: seven leaders of various organizations that were indicated as responsible for the excesses.

A) Yes, Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), Tom hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), John Froines (Daniel Flaherty) and Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins) were brought to court, in a trial that spanned months and exposed the discriminatory cracks in the American judicial system.


The cast is rounded out by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as attorney Richard Schultz, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as the crucial Bobby Seale (founder of the Black Panthers), and Mark Rylance as the defender William Kunstler, lawyer responsible for defending the group of leaders.

“I hope there is a lot of him (W. Kunstler) in me”, Rylance told BioBioChile. “I admire him a lot. I am not legally trained, but I think I share his sense of outrage and injustice, and his desire to give a voice to those who have it for us, “he added.

William Kunstler and Mark Rylance in the movie.

In history, the role of the lawyer is fundamental: he is the only one who defends and understands, in part, the legitimacy of the judicial system and the possibilities it offers, despite the suspicions of the accused.

The trial itself could well be described as a perfect postcard of that period, characterized by the movement hippie, the discussions about civil rights, the sexual revolution of the sixties and the end of the war of Vietnam. A historical period that Rylance feels part of.

“I am an English citizen, but I grew up in the United States during that time, between 1963 and 1978. The culture of the sixties had a lot of influence on me, particularly music, art and movies. Politics, well, we saw politics fall far to the right, Thatcher and Raegan, or in your country people who were not very compassionate, “he said.

“So, the sixties were years of expression of great ideals, for society to be fairer and for us to care for each other. Sadly, it was also a time where we saw hope being crushed and suppressed, and also failing to change the world, “said the interpreter.

“The Chicago 7 trial” | Netflix

(Q): Do you see any connection between that trial of the 7 leaders, in the sixties, and the turbulent political present of these days?
(R): “Yes, I do. There are always young people who are very inspired about what is possible in the future, and all people have also worn themselves out. They may have been visionaries when young, but perhaps they have become cynical and more concerned with safety as they get older and scared of change.

Young people are very brave and unfortunately many of them are sent to war. But these young people, who refuse to be used to repress the people of Vietnam, they insist that their skills and knowledge can be used to liberate their own people. “

(Q): What part of William Kunstler’s personality was the most important for the construction of this character?
(A): His ability to listen and change his opinion, his outrage, his ability to change, above all. He is not an old man, he is not young, but he has the ability to change. And I think that, speaking as an older man, myself, if you want to survive, you have to keep changing. If you stop changing, you are going to die.