The Mark Gordon Company is teaming with director José Padilha (Elite Squad, RoboCop) on a historical courtroom drama entitled Arc of Justice. The film recounts the harrowing 1920s Clarence Darrow-Ossian Sweet civil rights case. Variety reported today that the film has caught the attention of Oscar winner Russell Crowe. If reports turn to a deal, Crowe will head the drama with Selma star David Oyelowo, who has reportedly already closed a deal to join the picture.
Arc of Justice serves an adaptation of Kevin Boyle’s book, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age – Max Borenstein and Rodney Barnes wrote the screenplay – and centers on a true story of race relations in the mid-1920s. Ossian Sweet (Oyelowo) was an African-American doctor who was put on trial for murder. Significantly, his trial was funded by the still new NAACP, and led by Clarence Darrow (Crowe’s role if he boards the project).
The role of Sweet may serve Oyelowo’s talents effectively, as he has already essayed historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr. (Selma) and King Seretse Khama (A United Kingdom) to critical acclaim. Oyelowo will be seen later this year in a different light as he heads an upcoming Cloverfield installment, due in theaters later this year. Crowe is no stranger to historical dramas either, having recently starred (and directed) The Water Diviner and earned an Oscar nominations for his work as John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. He will next be seen in the reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise.
There’s no word yet on when Arc of Justice may head before the cameras, but we shall stay tuned.