This potential Oscar-earner finds Jordan playing lawyer and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson, who instead of going for lucrative jobs after graduating from Harvard opted to go to Alabama to defend the wrongly condemned and the poor. With the help of a local advocate (Brie Larson), Stevenson tackled a number cases of injustice, including that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), a man who was sentenced to death for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, even with evidence that proved his innocence and a testimony that came from a criminal with a motive to lie.
Destin Daniel Cretton directs and co-writes the film, which is based on Stevenson’s own memoir, and it could be a big one for the filmmaker after having previously directed the fantastic Short Term 12 and The Glass House (both of which starred Larson). The trailer hints at a rousing drama with some strong performances, and a cry for justice that is always needed – particularly with the division and racism still prevalent (and again rising) in certain sectors. Fingers crossed for this one.
Just Mercy, also starring Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, and Rafe Spall, will arrive in Australia on January 17. In the US it will hit limited cinemas on December 25 before going wide on January 10.
Warner Bros’ official extended rundown for Just Mercy:
Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther,” “Creed,” “Creed II”) and Oscar winners Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “Baby Driver,” “Django: Unchained”) and Brie Larson (“Room,” “The Glass Castle,” “Captain Marvel”) star in “Just Mercy,” an inspiring drama that brings one of the most important stories of our time to the big screen.
Award-winning filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton (“The Glass Castle,” “Short Term 12”) directed the film from a screenplay he co-wrote, based on the award-winning nonfiction bestseller by Bryan Stevenson.
A powerful and thought-provoking true story, “Just Mercy” follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.
The main cast also includes Rob Morgan (“Mudbound”) as Herbert Richardson, a fellow prisoner who also sits on death row awaiting his fate; Tim Blake Nelson (“Wormwood”) as Ralph Myers, whose pivotal testimony against Walter McMillian is called into question; Rafe Spall as Tommy Chapman, the DA who is fighting to uphold Walter’s conviction and sentence; and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (“Straight Outta Compton”) as Anthony Ray Hinton, another wrongly convicted death row inmate whose cause is taken up by Bryan.
The film is produced by two-time Oscar nominee Gil Netter (“Life of Pi,” “The Blind Side”), Asher Goldstein (“Short Term 12”) and Michael B. Jordan. Bryan Stevenson, Mike Drake, Niija Kuykendall, Gabriel Hammond, Daniel Hammond, Scott Budnick, Jeff Skoll and Charles D. King served as executive producers.
Cretton co-wrote the screenplay with Andrew Lanham (“The Glass Castle”), based on Stevenson’s book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Published in 2014 by Spiegel & Grau, the book has spent more than 150 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers List, and counting. It was also named one of the year’s best books by a number of top publications, including TIME Magazine. For the book, Stevenson also won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, an NAACP Image Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction.
Cretton’s behind-the-scenes creative team included director of photography Brett Pawlak, production designer Sharon Seymour, editor Nat Sanders and composer Joel P. West, all of whom previously collaborated with the director on “The Glass Castle.” They are joined by costume designer Francine Jamison-Tanchuck (“Detroit,” “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”).
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in Association with Endeavor Content/One Community/Participant Media/Macro, a Gil Netter Production, an Outlier Society Production, “Just Mercy.”
The film is slated for limited release on December 25, 2019 and will go wide on January 10, 2020. “Just Mercy” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and has been rated PG-13 for thematic content, including some racial epithets.