Jamie Foxx is reuniting with director Taylor Hackford for the Johnnie Cochran biopic starring Anthony Mackie.
According to Deadline, Foxx has signed on to play 2Pac's godfather and Black Panther Party leader Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, also known as Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt, who served 27 years in prison for a murder he said he didn’t commit. Pratt was freed in 1997, when his conviction was vacated on the grounds that the prosecution had concealed evidence. Cochran worked to overturn Pratt’s murder conviction and helped the decorated Vietnam vet settle a false imprisonment suit for $4.5 million. Pratt was targeted by the F.B.I.'s secret COINTELPRO for his activism and involvement with the revolutionary socialist Black Panther Party.
The movie, titled Signal Hill, will also star Elizabeth Banks as Mary Neiswender, a Long Beach Press-Telegram reporter who investigated the 1981 wrongful death case of college football star Ron Settles. Authorities in Signal Hill, California, claimed Settles had hanged himself in jail after he was arrested for speeding. Cochran suspected foul play and convinced Settles’ family to request an autopsy. Examiners later concluded that the man did not commit suicide. He was choked to death.
Though no one was prosecuted for Settles’ death, the family was awarded $760,000 in a civil suit against the city of Signal Hill. Cochran represented the family.
The film, which will be written by David MacMillan, is expected to begin filming in early 2018. Hackford and Foxx previously worked together on the 2004 Ray Charles biopic Ray, which earned Foxx an Academy Award for Best Actor.