Jamie Foxx is in talks to join Michael B. Jordan's courtroom drama Just Mercy. While both Foxx and Jordan are no strangers to blockbusters, they've made some of their best work in smaller films. Jordan's slate of projects continues to pile up after the success of Creed and Black Panther. He starred in HBO's Fahrenheit 451 this year too and still has Creed II coming out this fall. As for his future, another project with Ryan Coogler is in the works, but his next big screen role appears to be coming in Just Mercy.
The courtroom drama was picked up by Warner Bros. earlier this year after Broad Green Productions shut down. Prior to the change, Short Term 12 director Destin Cretton joined the project as its director. There hasn't been any news on the film's future since WB took control of the film other than it receiving an early 2020 release date, that is expected to be part of a limited, Oscar-eligible rollout in late 2019.
The awards potential of Just Mercy looks ready to increase with Variety reporting Jamie Foxx is in negotiations to join the project. While Jordan stars as lawyer Bryan Stevenson, Foxx would play the inmate on death row that Stevenson is trying to defend. Foxx's deal isn't yet closed so this could fall through, but he reportedly pushed hard for the highly coveted role.
Just Mercy instantly becomes the most prestigious project on Foxx's slate and of the last six years at least. Since his role in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, he's veered more into blockbusters, comedies, or B-action movies. However, joining Just Mercy puts Foxx back into an awards caliber role. He's already won an Oscar for playing Ray Charles in Ray, but was also nominated in the same year as a supporting actor thanks to Collateral.
Right now, Just Mercy is shaping up quiet nicely and has the awards potential everyone involved is going for. The film is based on the autobiographical book "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" that was published in 2014. Cretton adapted the book for the big screen with the help of co-writer Andrew Lanham (The Shack, The Glass Castle). If the film closely follows the book, it will focus on Stevenson founding the Equal Justice Initiative and attempting to save the life of Walter McMillian, who claims to not be responsible for the murder he's been charged with.
The story lends itself well to the dramatic approach and should be a great opportunity for Cretton return to his Short Term 12 form. With Jordan also producing the project along with starring, the pairing of him and Foxx on the screen could be great. Plus, the political, social, and racial elements involved give Just Mercy the basis for a compelling and timely story. Hopefully Foxx's deal does close and the film can deliver on its high potential.
Just Mercy is scheduled to hit theaters on January 1, 2020.