Ross will direct film for Universal

Tobey Maguire is attached to Universal’s “The Crusaders,” a drama about the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.

Gary Ross is attached to direct, and U has hired “Recount” scribe Danny Strong to write the script.

Maguire would play Jack Greenberg, who, as an idealistic lawyer fresh out of law school, joined with NAACP Legal Defense Fund head and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to win a Supreme Court case that ruled segregation in American schools illegal.

Bob Cooper is producing, and Ross and Maguire will be exec producers through Ross’s U-based Larger Than Life Prods.

Ross and Maguire teamed on “Pleasantville” and “Seabiscuit.”

Strong, a former assistant to Ross, received an Emmy nomination last week for scripting the Jay Roach-directed HBO film “Recount.”

“Recount” was Strong’s first scripting credit, but he has a long list of them as an actor. Aside from a recurring roles on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” he also played small roles in “Pleasantville” and “Seabiscuit.”

The project, based on Greenberg’s memoirs “Crusaders in the Courts,” was originally developed by Cooper at New Line. That studio let it go after New Line was absorbed by Warner Bros.Ross will next direct Universal drama “The Free State of Jones,” about rebellion in Mississippi during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

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