×

Jamie Foxx Joins Anthony Mackie’s Johnnie Cochran Movie

Jamie Foxx has been cast as Black Panther leader Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt in “Signal Hill,” the Johnnie Cochran biopic starring Anthony Mackie.

Taylor Hackford is directing from a David MacMillan script and producing “Signal Hill” with plans to go into production in January. Other producers are Mackie, Jason Spire, Robbie Brenner, Kevin McKeon, and Jeff Kwatinetz. McMillan is an exec producer. UTA and CAA are co-representing domestic rights.

Hackford and Foxx teamed on the 2004 Ray Charles biopic “Ray.” Foxx won the best actor Oscar and Hackford received nominations for best picture and best director.

“Signal Hill” will be centered on the 1981 wrongful death case of college football star Ron Settles. Signal Hill police ruled that Settles had hanged himself in a city jail cell in despair over his arrest for speeding, but Cochran suspected foul play and persuaded the Settles family to request that the body be exhumed for an autopsy, which showed Settles had been choked to death.

The Settles family was subsequently awarded $1 million in a civil suit against the Southern California city. Cochran is best known for his defense of O.J. Simpson in the 1995 murder case in which Simpson was acquitted.

Cochran represented Pratt in helping to overturn a conviction that sent Pratt to prison for 27 years for a 1968 murder he said he didn’t commit. Pratt was freed in 1997 when his conviction was vacated due to the prosecution having concealed evidence. Cochran was also involved with settling a false imprisonment suit for Pratt for $4.5 million in 1998.

Elizabeth Banks has been cast as newspaper reporter Mary Neiswender, who investigated the Signal Hill case for the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Foxx starred in “Baby Driver” and has completed production on “Robin Hood: Origins” with Taron Egerton. He’s repped by CAA and LBI. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Matthew Modine

    Matthew Modine Accused of Violating Labor Laws With Campaign Videos

    Matthew Modine has been accused by SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris of violating federal laws in his campaign to unseat Carteris. The production of three campaign videos for Modine by the for-profit New York Film Academy — on whose board Modine sits — has been blasted by Carteris for alleged violations of federal labor law prohibiting [...]

  • Ready or Not Movie

    'Ready or Not,' 'Angel Has Fallen' Enter Box Office Race

    Three more contenders are joining what has lately been a hostile box office arena. Can anyone emerge from August victorious? Fox Searchlight’s “Ready or Not,” a black comedy about a diabolical game of hide-and-seek, will debut in 2,244 North American theaters on Wednesday. The low-budget film is expected to earn upwards of $6.5 million over [...]

  • Rules Don't Apply

    Warren Beatty and Arnon Milchan Settle Suit Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    Arnon Milchan and Warren Beatty have settled their two-year legal battle over the disastrous release of “Rules Don’t Apply,” Beatty’s period drama about Howard Hughes. Milchan’s attorneys have filed a notice with the court dismissing his suit against Beatty. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Milchan’s company, New Regency, sued Beatty and other investors [...]

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a

    Bolsonaro LGBTQI Outburst, Subsidy Freeze, Stirs Outrage

    Ramping up the drive into censorship in Brazil, its Minister of Citizenship, Omar Terra, has suspended a call for applications for governmental TV funding – until new criteria are established for its application. The country’s secretary for culture, Henrique Pires, who reports to Terra, has resigned in protest of the incentive freeze. The suspension, for [...]

  • Adam Brody'Ready or Not' film premiere,

    Adam Brody to Executive Produce, Star in 'The Kid Detective'

    “Ready or Not’s” Adam Brody has signed on to star in “The Kid Detective.” Sophie Nelisse will co-star in the dramedy from writer-director Evan Morgan. Brody will star as a once-celebrated kid detective, now 31, who continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity until a 16-year-old client (Nelisse) brings [...]

  • Alita: Battle Angel VFX

    How Previsualization Helps Create Pitches for Projects Like 'Alita: Battle Angel'

    Filmmakers are increasingly using previsualization, a now-standard technique for planning highly technical shots and sequences, as a tool for pitching a project to production companies, investors and studio executives — before a single full scene has actually been shot. More creatives are relying on the technique, dubbed “pitchvis,” to fashion a compelling and engaging presentation [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content