Words by Megan Ambers

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Jamie Foxx has signed on to play a vital role in the new Johnnie Cochran biopic starring Anthony Mackie.

According to Deadline.com, Foxx has joined the cast of Signal Hill, starring Mackie as attorney Johnnie Cochran. The biopic will also star Elizabeth Banks as Mary Neiswender, an investigative newspaper reporter for the Long Beach Press-telegram who broke stories on the cover-up. Neiswender investigated the wrongful death of college football star Ron Settles in 1981. Signal Hill authorities claimed that Settles hung himself in jail after he was arrested for speeding. Cochran convinced the family of Settles to request an autopsy, after suspecting foul play. It was only after that autopsy was concluded that Cochran’s suspicions were proven correctly, that Settles was indeed murdered. The family was awarded $760,000 in a civil suit.


Foxx, who won Best Actor during the 2005 Oscars for the film Ray, directed by Taylor Hackford, will play Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt. Pratt, a former Black Panther leader and Vietnam war veteran, was represented by Cochran after being convicted for a crime he didn’t commit. Cochran helped overturn the murder conviction after Pratt spend 27 years in prison, resulting in a $4.5 million dollar false imprisonment suit. Pratt was eventually freed in 1997, when the conviction was vacated after it was proven that the prosecution team was concealing evidence.