Anything even tagentially connected to OJ Simpson continues to be a hot Hollywood property, as Anthony Mackie's Johnnie Cochran biopic Signal Hill has gained Taylor Hackford (The Devil's Advocate) as a director, and now Jamie Foxx has been cast as Black Panther leader Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt.
Signal Hill will be a reunion for Hackford and Foxx, as the journeyman filmmaker helped guide the comedian/actor/musician to an Academy Award for his performance as the titular blind icon in Ray.
This take on Cochran's life focuses on the attorney's involvement in the 1981 wrongful death case of college football star Ron Settles. Local police ruled that Settles hung himself in a city jail cell after being arrested for speeding. But Cochran suspected foul play, and persuaded the athlete's family to request that his body be exhumed for an autopsy, which revealed he'd actually been choked to death. These findings led to a civil suit against the Southern California municipality.
Mackie will star as Cochran, who also represented Pratt and helped overturn a conviction that sent the political activist to jail for 27 years in 1968 for a murder he swore he didn't commit. Obviously, Signal Hill is looking to steer the focus away from the famed counselor's defense of the Juice, highlighting the work he did on behalf of those in the black community who'd been wronged by the justice system.
David MacMillan is penning the script for the project, which is set to start production in January. No word on a release date as of yet, but Signal Hill definitely sounds intriguing.