The trailer for Edward Zwick’s Trial By Fire was released on Friday. The biographical film, based on The New Yorker’s article of the same name by David Grann and the letters of Cameron Todd Willingham, centers on the story of Texas resident, Cameron Willingham, who is sentenced to the death penalty. He is convicted of an arson-related triple homicide, resulting in the death of his three daughters. Willingham is played by Jack O’ Connell. Elizabeth Gilbert, a school teacher and poet, meets Willingham and looks into the evidence surrounding his case while he is on death row for 12 years. She finds potentially flawed information used against him which motivates her to fight for his freedom. Gilbert is played by Laura Dern.
The trailer quickly cuts through moments from the time the fire occurs to his time in jail. Viewers get an immediate sense that the two are under pressure to find a way to prove Willingham’s innocence. Although the alleged crime occurred in 1991, officials are still unsure as to whether Willingham was guilty or not. Scientific investigations were carried out after the case was decided which pointed toward flawed forensic evidence.
Roadside Attractions will be distributing the film on May 17. Watch the trailer below.