Open Road Films acquired the U.S. rights to “Marshall,” a biopic starring Chadwick Boseman as the attorney Thurgood Marshall who became Supreme Court Justice.
Along with Boseman, Josh Gad was previously announced to play lawyer Sam Friedman.
The film covers Thurgood Marshall’s early years as a young lawyer tasked with defending a black chauffeur in a highly publicized sexual assault case. He worked on behalf of a nearly bankrupt NAACP as the nation braced for World War II. Marshall, paired with a young Jewish lawyer, Samuel Friedman in a segregationist court, the two are forced to fight prejudice as they work their case — which helped set the stage the future Civil Rights Movement.
Prolific television director Reginald Hudlin, who was nominated for an Oscar for producing “Django Unchained,” is directing and producing the film.
Paula Wagner (“Mission: Impossible,” “The Last Samurai”) is producing through her Chestnut Ridge Productions banner. Jonathan Sanger (“The Elephant Man”) is also a producer on the project.
Star Light Media, Inc. is financing the film along with Hero Film, Ltd., Sky Legend, Hunter Ryan and David Ryan.
Peter Luo and Belton Lee are executive producers.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has international distribution rights for the film which commenced principal photography in Buffalo, New York, on Monday, May 23. The production is taking advantage of the state’s Film Production Program.
The script was written by trial lawyer Michael Koskoff and his son, screenwriter Jacob Koskoff (“Macbeth”).
The Thurgood Marshall and Samuel Friedman estates, along with their children John W. Marshall and Lauren Friedman, fully support the project.
The deal was brokered by Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg, COO and general counsel, Elliott Kleinberg and senior vice president of production and acquisitions Sophie Cassidy.