OJ Simpson is back in season, it would seem. Not only did the infamous murder case, in which Simpson was found totally not guilty of the murder of his wife, Nicole Brown, just get the narrative treatment with the entrancing The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, but 30 for 30 has also just premiered a breathless five-hour documentary about the former, brilliant athlete and now convicted criminal. In the FX series, Courtney B. Vance does some of his customary, galvanic work in the role of Johnnie Cochran, the ingenious defense attorney that was at least somewhat responsible for Simpson being let free by a jury of his peers.
Now, it looks like one of Marvel’s central performers will also be taking on the role of Cochran. Deadline is reporting that Anthony Mackie, the fantastic actor who recently headlined both Captain America: Civil War and The Night Before, will be playing Cochran for director Justin Chadwick, who directed Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela in Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom. It’s a great role for Mackie, and though I’ve never been particularly drawn to Chadwick’s work, this film immediately qualifies as one of the most promising biopic properties on my radar.
The script is by David McMillan, and doesn’t focus at all on the Simpson case. Instead, the film will take a look at another landmark Cochran case, the Signal Hill police brutality case that ripped up Los Angeles in 1981. In the case, Cochran represented athlete Ron Settles, who had been picked up for speeding by the Los Angeles Police Department. Fertile material, to be sure, and if McMillan’s script gets in good on the details of the case and the investigation, this could make for a really fascinating, thematically rich drama. And though Mackie made a pretty damn good Martin Luther King Jr. in All The Way, the actor has a way to evoke both radiant charm and a certain kind of menace in his characters that would make for a great variation on the late Cochran as a character. Keep your eyes on this one!