Via Deadline: Jamie Foxx looks to return to his Oscar winning ways by teaming up again with Ray director Taylor Hackford on Signal Hill. Foxx has joined the cast to play Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, a former Black Panther leader and Vietnam vet. Pratt was tried and convicted in 1972 for the 1968 murder of Caroline Olsen; he served 27 years in prison, eight of which were in solitary confinement. Pratt was freed in 1997 when his conviction was vacated due to the prosecution’s having concealed evidence that could have affected the verdict. This decision was upheld on appeal.
Foxx will join a cast already consisting of Anthony Mackie as attorney Johnnie Cochran,.and Elizabeth Banks as Mary Neiswender, an investigative newspaper reporter for the Long Beach Press-Telegram who investigated and broke stories on the coverup.
Signal Hill tells the story of Cal State Long Beach star Ron Settles who had been picked up for speeding in Signal Hill, in Los Angeles County on June 1, 1981. The morning after his arrest, he was found severely beaten and hanging in his jail cell. “The police called it a suicide, but an autopsy — performed after Cochran persuaded Settles’ family to exhume the body — showed that he had been choked to death. The family was awarded $760,000 in a civil suit, the police chief resigned, and reforms were mandated.”
The script is by David McMillan. The hope is to go into production in January.