Jamie Foxx to Star as Black Panther Leader Geronimo Pratt in the Johnnie Cochran Biopic

Jamie Foxx is teaming up again with acclaimed director Taylor Hackford for the Johnnie Cochran Biopic, Signal Hill, as Black Panther leader Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt.

According to Variety, the award-winning actor has signed on to star as the Black Panther Party leader, also known as Geronimo Ji-Jaga, who served 27 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. After it was discovered that the prosecution had concealed evidence, his conviction was vacated and Pratt was freed in 1997. Johnnie Cochran was the man behind getting his conviction overturned. In addition to overturning Pratt’s murder conviction, Cochran was also responsible for helping Pratt settle a false imprisonment suit for $4.5 million in 1998.

Foxx will star alongside Elizabeth Banks and Anthony Mackie, who has signed on to play Johnnie Cochran. According to Variety, the forthcoming film will be centered on the 1981 wrongful death case of college football star Ron Settles, who had been picked up for speeding. Not long after his arrest, Settles was found hanging in his cell and Signal Hill police ruled the death a suicide. Although police ruled it a suicide, Cochran suspected foul play and persuaded the Settles family to request that the body be exhumed for an autopsy, which revealed that Settles has been chocked to death. The family was awarded $1 million in a civil suit against the Southern California city. Best known for her role in The Hunger Games as Effie Trinket, Banks will portray newspaper reporter Mary Neiswender, who investigated the Signal Hill case for the Long Beach Press-Telegram – as Variety reports.

Foxx and Hackford previously worked together on the 2004 Ray Charles biopic, Ray, which earned Foxx a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and an Oscar for Best Actor.

With Hackford serving as director and David MacMillian penning the script, Mackie and Jason Spire with will serve as producers alongside Robbie Brenner, Jeff Kwatinetz, and Kevin McKeon. Hackford will also serve as executive producer for the film, which will go into production in January 2018.

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