Chadwick Boseman is gearing up to star as yet another iconic figure in American history: Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice. The actor has made his mark in roles like this—42 (the Jackie Robinson story), Get on Up (the James Brown story)—so this should be right up his alley. He'll make his Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War next summer, too!
Unlike the others, though, Marshall is being described as a "courtroom thriller," focusing not on the esteemed Justice's whole life, but rather on a specific case that happened early on in Marshall's career. This isn't the landmark case that everyone probably thinks of first when it comes to Marshall, though—the case that made him a part of history forever: The historic ruling on Brown V Board of Education, which Marshall argued and won, put in motion the desegregation of schools.
According to Deadline, the movie's plot, based on the true story of a 1940s criminal case, is described as follows: "As the nation teeters on the brink of WWII, a nearly bankrupt NAACP sends Marshall to conservative Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur against his wealthy socialite employer in a sexual assault and attempted murder trial that quickly became tabloid fodder. In need of a high profile victory but muzzled by a segregationist court, Marshall is partnered with Samuel Friedman, a young Jewish lawyer who has never tried a case. Marshall and Friedman struggle against a hostile storm of fear and prejudice, driven to discover the truth in the sensationalized trial which helped set the groundwork for the civil rights movement to come."
Django Unchained producer Reginald Hudlin is set to direct, and seems to be an admirer of Marshall's long and fruitful career leading up to his death in 1993. "Thurgood Marshall was a man who took his life in his hands every time he came to a town to bring justice," Hudlin was quoted saying. "Marshall was a cowboy who used his law books as guns. He was the smartest guy in the room of any room he was in. But he wasn't a punk and didn't hesitate to throw a punch if the occasion called for it."
Shooting for the film starts this week, and then will resume in the spring after Hudlin completes his gig as a producer for this year's Academy Awards.
If you can't wait that long to see Boseman in action, though, catch him as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, in theaters May 6, 2016. Catch the trailer below.