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Russell Crowe, David Oyelowo Eye Court Room Drama ‘Arc of Justice’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 5/8/2017 Justin Kroll
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Russell Crowe and David Oyelowo are circling a movie based on the groundbreaking Clarence Darrow-Ossian Sweet civil rights cases.

Sources tell Variety that Crowe is in talks to co-star with Oyelowo, who closed a deal, in the adaptation of “Arc of Justice” for the Mark Gordon Company.

The Mark Gordon Company had no comment on Crowe’s negotiations.

“Narcos” helmer Jose Padilha is directing with the Mark Gordon Company financing.

Based on Kevin Boyle’s book “Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age,” the true story centers on a racial incident in 1925 Detroit that put African American doctor Ossian Sweet (Oyelowo) on the stand for murder. His defense was funded by the nascent National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and led by Darrow (Crowe).

Max Borenstein and Rodney Barnes penned the script. Gordon, Borenstein, Hawk Koch, and Matt Jackson will produce, and Josh Clay Phillips will oversee the production for the Mark Gordon Company.

Oyelowo has earned accolades playing real-life figures, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the critically acclaimed biopic “Selma.” He most recently starred as King Seretse Khama of Botswana in Fox Searchlight’s “A United Kingdom.”

Crowe is also no stranger to biopics, portraying boxer Jimmy Braddock in “Cinderella Man” and mathematician John Nash in “A Beautiful Mind,” which earned him an Oscar nomination.

Oyelowo can be seen next in the latest film in the “Cloverfield” franchise, which bows this fall, and Crowe stars as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Universal’s “The Mummy,” which opens on June 9.

Oyelowo is repped by CAA, Inphenate, Hamilton Hodell, and Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham. Crowe is repped by WME and Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal Laviolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman. UTA and CAA packaged the project, and co-represent the domestic distribution rights.

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