The Black Panther and Spider-Man villains, Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx, are joining forces for something rather different than the spandex-clad escapades that they have both dabbled in. In the lead up to its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month, we have been given our first still image glimpse of the upcoming biographical drama, Just Mercy.
Detailing the story of the American Attorney and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson, the film centres on the case of Walter McMillian, an African-American man imprisoned for murder, and condemned to death row, despite there being evidence that proves otherwise. Alongside Michael B. Jordan stepping into the role of the former, and Jamie Foxx starring as the latter, the film boasts quite the enviable cast including O'Shea Jackson Jr., Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall and their fellow comic book hero, Brie Larson as a supportive local advocate.
A story of justice and redemption against a civil rights background sounds perfect for this long list of exceptional dramatic actors. The images don't provide much beyond the familiar settings of a courthouse and a prison visit, but to see these two tremendous actors together is a real delight, with the film sure to be brimming with notable performances.
The film itself is based upon Bryan Stevenson's bestselling memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption and will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, previously of Short Term 12 and The Glass Castle fame, who has also put himself on writing duty alongside previous collaborator Andrew Lanham. His next movie will be Shang-Chi for Marvel. In a recent interview, the director/writer spoke at length about the upcoming Just Mercy and what about the story drew his attention.
"I left finishing that book feeling so energised and inspired and so connected to humanity in a way that I just hadn't even thought of before."
Cretton was also struck by the topical subject matter, and the injustices within the political and court systems. "A big part of the movie is navigating a system that, as Bryan puts it, 'Treats you better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent,'" Cretton explained. "There's a lot of successes in the movie, and there's also a lot of disappointments throughout to show you just how difficult a system it is to navigate if you don't have a lot of money."
It should come as little surprise that Jordan was the director's first choice for the lead role, and the actor quickly signed once he had read the script and done his research. In fact, the real life Stevenson was quick to assist the actor with his portrayal, as Cretton describes, "He was there right along for that whole process, giving us great notes and adding in details of how they did things or how the system works that were not in the book and we definitely could not have done it without him," says Cretton. "Getting his blessing on the final movie, it was probably the biggest relief of my life."
So far it all sounds extremely promising, and here's hoping the film can do justice to this incredible true story. This story comes from Empire Online.