What We Know: Marshall


By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

Chadwick Boseman has been making waves with Marvel as Black Panther, but now he’s headed back to historical roots, moving on from his role in 42 as the incredible Jackie Robinson and taking on the role of the first African-American Supreme Court Justice in Marshall.

Directed by Reginald Hudlin (Django Unchained) and written by trial lawyer Michael Koskoff and screenwriter Jacob Koskoff, Marshall is an upcoming American biographical drama set to tell the story of Thurgood Marshall and a huge first case that launched him on the path to become a lawyer for the ages.

Produced by Paula Wagner, Reginald Hudlin, Jonathan Sanger, and Jun Dong, with Newton Thomas Sigel behind the scenes with cinematography, Marshall began principal photography in Los Angeles in December 2015. In spring 2016, filming moved on to Buffalo, NY wrapping in July of the same year. According to director Hudlin, Buffalo was chosen as a filming location due to the architecture in the area and the city’s dedication and preservation of historic buildings. Open Road Films acquired the U.S. rights for the film in June 2016, shortly before filming concluded. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions nabbed the international distribution rights for the movie.

What’s the real life story behind Marshall? You might remember history class and recall how Thurgood Marshall helped in the fight to desegregate schools in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case in 1954, finally becoming the first African-American Supreme Court Justice in the U.S. in 1967. But Marshall starts in the earlier days of the determined lawyer, hailing back to one of his first cases. In 1941, a chauffeur was charged with sexual assault and attempted murder by his wealthy employer. The nearly bankrupt NAACP sent Marshall to Connecticut to defend Joseph Spell, where he faced extremely unfair odds due to the prejudice in a segregationist court. The case was one of Marshall’s first, and he was partnered with a young Jewish lawyer named Sam Friedman, who had never tried a case himself. The unlikely pair made waves in their pursuit of justice for their client and fought against deep-seated racist beliefs both inside and outside the court.

Check out a trailer for the intense flick right here!

Thurgood Marshall is played by Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) and is joined by Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast) as partner Sam Friedman and Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) as defendant Joseph Spell. The accusing employer in the case, Eleanor Strubing, is portrayed by the ever-radiant Kate Hudson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) with blue-eyed Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) filling the role of Strubing’s prosecuting lawyer, Lorin Willis. James Cromwell (I, Robot) is filling the role of the judge in the pivotal trial.

The cast of Marshall also includes Keesha Sharp (Girlfriends) as Vivien “Buster” Burey, Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) as Jennifer, Jussie Smollett (Empire) as Langston Hughes, and Rozonda Thomas (former TLC member) as Zora Neale Hurston.

Marshall is not only blessed with a ridiculously talented cast, it tells an amazingly epic story. Director Reginald Hudlin stated, “I can’t wait for the world to see this movie. It’s a thriller, not a biopic, about an early case of one of the greatest lawyers in American history. In a tie when we need heroes who fight for justice, Marshall is an inspirational movie that brings people together. And it’s a lot more fun than anyone expects.”

The film was produced with the support of the Thurgood Marshall and Samuel Friedman estates and their children, John W. Marshall and Lauren Friedman. Marshall is slated for release in the U.S. on October 13, 2017, just after the 50th anniversary of Thurgood Marshall’s swearing-in as a Supreme Court Justice and in the prime time period for award season consideration. Are you ready for the suspenseful and emotional film this fall?

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