Marshall is an upcoming biopic from Open Road that stars Chadwick Boseman (Marvel's Black Panther), as iconic supreme court justice Thurgood Marshall supported by Josh Gad (Frozen, Angry Birds), as lawyer Sam Friedman. The film is based on the historic 1941 case the eponymous Marshall was involved in where he defended a black chauffeur against his rich, socialite employer who had accused him of sexual assault and attempted murder. As one expects, the case was one of the most discussed -- and gossiped about -- court cases of its time given the serious nature of the accusation and the state of human rights in the United States of America at the time.
Today Open Road announced that Marshall had finally found its release date. It will be premiering later this year on October 13. Currently, there is only one other movie slotted to be released on that same day and that is Friday the 13th part 13 from Paramount Pictures. The weekend is sure to fill up in the coming months as more titles are announced, but as it stands right now, Marshall seems to be sitting in a position where it could easily win the weekend box office.
In addition to Boseman and Gad, Marshall has several stars among its cast including: Kate Hudson (Deepwater Horizon), Dan Stevens (Legion), James Cromwell (The Young Pope), Sterling K. Brown (The People vs OJ Simpson), and Keesha Sharp (Lethal Weapon), to be directed by Reginald Hudlin (Modern Family). In a fascinating move, the film is written by the father-son team of renowned lawyer Michael Koskoff and his screenwriter son, Jacob Koskoff (Macbeth), produced by Paula Wagner (Mission Impossible III), through her company Chestnut Ridge Productions.
“I can’t wait for the world to see this movie,” Hudlin told Variety. “It’s a thriller, not a biopic, about an early case of one of the greatest lawyers in American history. In a time when we need heroes who fight for justice, ‘Marshall’ is an inspirational movie that brings people together.”
This will not be Boseman's first time leading a biopic. He starred as Jackie Robinson in 42, which garnered him praise as well as playing James Brown in Get On Up, which was also received positively and considered by many to be the launching pad that got Boseman cast as T'Challa in Captain America: Civil War. Marshall began principle photography last May with Boseman obviously hoping to recapture some of his past success.
Marshall feels like a very timely movie to be releasing this year. While there is enough distance between the time when the events took place and the life of the contemporary moviegoer (the film is being produced with the full suppot of both the Marshall and Friedman estates), that the story can be told truthfully, the issue at the core of the film's conflict has the potential the resonate with a modern audience -- as all great period pieces and biopics ought to.
The being said, Hudlin will need to strike a very specific balance between thriller and biopic in Marshall in order to serve the duel masters of creating a compelling, exciting experience for moviegoers and as accurately as possible representing the facts of the events as they happened. If he is able to accomplish this, the movie is set for success. If he is not, then Friday the 13th part 13 may have a fighting chance to win the box office.
Marshall will be in theaters October 13, 2017.
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