My glance strays to a side table, where headshots of actors under consideration for his likely next directing project, Chicago 7—about the conspiracy trial that grew out of protests at the 1968 Democratic convention—lie on the surface. Among them I spy Will Smith, Taye Diggs, Adam Arkin, and Kevin Spacey; Sacha Baron Cohen (as Abbie Hoffman) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (as William Kunstler) are also linked to the project, which has a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. (It should be noted here that Chicago 7 will be partly based on Chicago 10, a new documentary produced by Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair's editor, and Brett Morgen, the film's director.) After Chicago 7, Spielberg will probably go on to direct Lincoln, with Liam Neeson in the title role.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 follows protesters who disrupted the 1968 Democrat party convention with an anti-Vietnam war "carnival" that turned nasty. Demonstrators threw bricks, police responded with tear gas and the center of Chicago was engulfed in flames. Curfews only escalated the violence.
After the clashes, independent investigators blamed eight police officers and eight protesters including Hoffman, who had already disrupted the New York Stock Exchange with showers of fake money.
The police were not charged but the protesters were accused of inciting a riot. One was jailed for contempt, leaving the seven to fight the charges.