“Just Mercy” is based on the case of Walter McMillan, an African-American death-row prisoner who was exonerated in 1993 after being convicted five years earlier for a 1986 murder in Alabama. Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, took on McMillan’s cause in 1988 in his first case as an attorney and wrote the 2014 book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.”
McMillan was convicted despite being at a barbecue surrounded by dozens of witnesses at the time of the murder. He was exonerated after Stevenson proved that the prosecution had suppressed evidence.
Jordan stars as Stevenson while Jamie Foxx portrays McMillan in the Warner Bros.’ film. The cast includes Brie Larson, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, Rob Morgan and O’Shea Jackson, Jr. Destin Daniel Cretton directed from his adaptation of Stevenson’s memoir. Andrew Lanham co-wrote the script.
The project was originally set up in 2015 at Broad Green Pictures with Jordan and Cretton attached. Warner Bros. picked up the distribution rights in 2017 when Broad Green was in bankruptcy. Jordan starred in both “Creed” films, “Fruitvale Station,” and “Black Panther” as Erik Killmonger.
Gil Netter and Asher Goldstein are producing. “Just Mercy” is the third collaboration between Cretton and Larson following “Short Term 12” and “Glass Castle.”
Warner Bros. said “Just Mercy” will have a limited release starting on Christmas Day and will go wide on Jan. 10.