*Director Taylor Hackford and actor Anthony Mackie are gearing up for a biopic about famed attorney Johnnie Cochran.
The project titled “Cochran (aka Signal Hill)” will reportedly film in Atlanta early next year, and centers around the 1981 police brutality case of Ron Settles, a student who died under suspicious circumstances while in police custody.
Settles, a football player at Long Beach State, was pulled over for speeding and shortly after his arrest he was found hanged in his cell at the Signal Hill Police Department. It was originally called a suicide, but an autopsy — performed after Cochran persuaded Settles’ family to exhume the body — showed that he had been choked to death. Settles’ family was awarded $760,000 in a civil suit, the police chief resigned, and reforms were mandated, BizJournals.com reports.
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The biopic is slated to start filming in January 2018. The script was penned by David McMillan, “who was among last year’s Fox Writers Intensive finalists and recently was a staff writer on Lucifer.”
The Firm’s film division president Robbie Brenner, who will produce the pic, called McMillan’s script “incredibly well written and timely. The subject matter resonates now just as powerfully as it did in 1981, and we look forward to making an honest, provocative and challenging film.”
The litigator, who died in 2005, represented celebrities from Michael Jackson to Jim Brown, but Johnnie is best known for representing O.J. Simpson during the murder trial of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
“Cochran’s rise to fame as an advocate for blacks suffering in police brutality cases was galvanized by his work in the landmark Signal Hill case.”