Having already played Jackie Robinson and James Brown, Chadwick Boseman will take on another real-life icon in a courtroom thriller about Thurgood Marshall.
To be directed by Reginald Hudlin, producers announced Wednesday that Boseman will star as the legendary attorney in “Marshall,” a film that will focus on a case early in the career of the Supreme Court justice.
Via the press announcement: “As the nation teeters on the brink of WWII, a nearly bankrupt NAACP sends Marshall to conservative Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur against his wealthy socialite employer in a sexual assault and attempted murder trial that quickly became tabloid fodder. In need of a high profile victory but muzzled by a segregationist court, Marshall is partnered with Samuel Friedman, a young Jewish lawyer who has never tried a case. Marshall and Friedman struggle against a hostile storm of fear and prejudice, driven to discover the truth in the sensationalized trial which helped set the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement to come.”
Production is set to begin this week in Los Angeles. No other casting details are available at this time.
Another movie featuring Marshall as a young lawyer is in the works. Lionsgate is developing an adaptation of Gilbert King’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Devil in the Grove,” with Anton Corbijn to direct.
Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first black Supreme Court justice on August 30, 1967.
In April 2008, Laurence Fishburne returned to the stage in the Broadway production of “Thurgood,” a play by George Stevens, Jr.
He won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show for his performance.
And on February 24, 2011, HBO aired a filmed version of the 90-minute play, performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Fishburne was also nominated for the stage’s highest honor, the Tony Award, for his performance in “Thurgood.”
Most recently, Danny Glover played Thurgood Marshall in Stephen Frears’ Muhammad Ali film for HBO. Titled “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” the film will took place in 1967, as then Heavy Weight Champion of the World Muhammad Ali refused to enlist and go fight for the USA in Vietnam; his objections to the war were very public, he was convicted and sentenced to serve time in prison, during which he appealed his case that would go all the way to the Supreme Court when Marshall was a sitting judge.
Boseman, who co-stars as the Black Panther in Marvel’s upcoming “Captain America: Civil War,” broke out in the Robinson biopic “41,” which he followed with “Get on Up.”
“Marshall” is being financed by China-based Super Hero Films, Ltd. with Paula Wagner (“Mission Impossible”) producing through her Chestnut Ridge Productions banner.
Hudlin, Jonathan Sanger, and Super Hero Films’ Jun Dong are also producing from a screenplay by trial lawyer Michael Koskoff and his son Jacob Koskoff.
The film is being produced with the full cooperation of the Thurgood Marshall and Samuel Friedman estates.