Like it or not, McDonald’s restaurants are one of those classic American institutions that have stood the test of time. And part of the reason that’s true is because of the tenacity of one man: Ray Kroc, the man who innovated fast food franchising not only for the company, but also for the world. The story of that conquest is told in John Lee Hancock’s latest motion picture, The Founder, and as you’ll see below, Michael Keaton is hungry for a little more than just a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
The trailer for The Founder dropped this morning as a USA Today exclusive, and it’s not hard to see why. Michael Keaton’s performance of Kroc’s evolution from struggling milkshake machine salesman to ruthless entrepreneur is a thing of beauty. Not only does Keaton get to show his normally lovable side, but he also gets to go totally nuts as he becomes the fast-food mogul that Ray Kroc eventually became, all in the name of a comfortable life.

Though Keaton isn’t the only MVP in The Founder trailer, as Laura Dern is showcased as Kroc’s wife, Ethel, who would eventually divorce Kroc during his rise to the top of the McDonald’s food chain. But perhaps the most exciting casting in this trailer is that of John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman’s roles of Mac and Dick McDonald – the brothers who would start an empire, only to have it seized by Kroc in 1961 – for $2.7 million. Both actors are impressive in their own right, but for the trailer’s purposes, Offerman is the big man on campus. Devoid of his typical facial hair, and showing some acting chops that would make even Ron Swanson weep with joy, his McDonald brother looks to be the one to scrap with Keaton’s Kroc. Needless to say, we can’t wait to see the result.

New territory is to be discovered by all involved with The Founder, as this looks to be director John Lee Hancock’s darkest biopic yet. While he made a name for himself with the Academy Award winning performance of Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side, Hancock chose to follow that feel-good film up with another, the poignant Saving Mr. Banks. So while taking on the origins of McDonald’s completes Hancock’s American trifecta, it’s also taking him into some fresh material. Thankfully, this first short look at The Founder promises that he hasn’t lost a step as he’s traded in football and the movies for some good old fashioned hamburgers and hostile takeovers.

The Founder serves up history, with a side of drama, on August 5th.

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