Sterling K. Brown To Star In Searchlight Adaptation Of Black List Script ‘The Defender’

Searchlight has acquired E. Nicholas Mariani‘s script for The Defender, which landed on the 2018 Black Lost of best unproduced Hollywood screenplays, and has secured Sterling K. Brown to star as heroic lawyer Scipio Africanus Jones.

Jones was a courageous attorney who risked his life and career to defend 87 men wrongfully accused of murder in the wake of the Elaine massacre of 1919, when a group of Black sharecroppers meeting in a church about unionisation were attacked by a posse organised by white landowners.

George Tillman Jr. is also on board to direct, while Brown will also produce alongside 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen.

Brown has become a major name on TV thanks to starring roles in This Is Us and The People vs. O.J. Simpson, which each earned him Emmy wins, while he’s also appeared in films such as Black Panther, Frozen 2, and Waves. He recently wrapped production on the brilliantly titled Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul and sci-fi drama Biosphere.

Tillman Jr previously directed the excellent 2018 drama The Hate U Give, which follows the racial fallout after a high school student witnesses a police shooting.

The Defender will likely work with similar themes, so Tillman Jr. is a good choice here. He’s currently in pre-production on Heart Of A Lion, a biopic of legendary boxer (and grill salesman) George Foreman.


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