Shortly after Trumbo writes the script for Spartacus, he meets Otto Preminger, who says that he is "the director". It sounds like he is claiming to be the director of Spartacus, and this is why he has a copy of the brand-new script.

In real life, Spartacus was directed by Stanley Kubrick, who was never mentioned in Trumbo.

Was the movie intending to say that in the story of the movie, Otto Preminger directed Spartacus? If so, is there a known reason that they changed this particular detail from real life?

Or, was Otto only intending to mean that he was another director who wanted to work with Trumbo? I don't think it ever actually shows him on the set of Spartacus directing. But if this is the case, then how did he end up with a copy of the Spartacus script so quickly?

  • I don't recall that specific scene, but Trumbo wrote Exodus (which was directed by Preminger) and that movie came out 2 months after Spartacus. Preminger was the first Director to call for having Trumbo's name in the credits after he was blacklisted, and his name did appear in the credits for both Spartacus and Exodus. Mar 27, 2019 at 14:05
  • @JohnnyBones Yes, in the film, Preminger approaches Trumbo to get him to write his screenplay for Exodus. But it was reading the script for Spartacus that made him seek Trumbo out.
    – GendoIkari
    Mar 27, 2019 at 14:08
  • I'd have to re-watch the movie, but I think Preminger saw Trumbo's work on the Spartacus script and sought him to write the Exodus script. I can't find specific dates, but the two scripts were written around the same time so it's entirely possible Spartacus was written first, or at least a rough draft was written before Preminger approached him to write Exodus. Mar 27, 2019 at 14:14
  • @JohnnyBones Yes, what you are saying is what I was trying to say... The question is why was Preminger the director of Spartacus in the movie when he wasn't in real life. Or, if I misunderstood that part of the movie.
    – GendoIkari
    Mar 27, 2019 at 14:43
  • @Gendolkari - See the answer I provided below. Mar 27, 2019 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


Otto Preminger, in the movie, makes reference to Kirk Douglas' film Spartacus, but goes on to say that he's directing a different film called "Exodus". I think you may have misunderstood that part of the dialogue. I have a clip which doesn't include the entire conversation, but you can hear the part where he references Kirk Douglas and then goes on to say he has a new project. If he had been the Director of Spartacus, Trumbo would already have been familiar with Preminger and the conversation would have sounded much different. It appears as if Preminger is trying to pitch Trumbo on working with him, which he wouldn't have needed to do if they were already working together on Spartacus.


He's simply saying that he's "Otto Preminger, the (famous) director". He's not claiming to be the director of Spartacus.

  • If this the case; how did he have a copy of the Spartacus script?
    – GendoIkari
    Mar 27, 2019 at 14:54
  • 1
    @GendoIkari Why wouldn't he? He's a director, and part of their job is reading scripts. He's read a script he likes (or admires), and now he wants to meet the man who wrote it because good scriptwriters are a rarity. He's simply announcing who he is, in case the guy doesn't know him.
    – BCdotWEB
    Mar 27, 2019 at 14:55

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