Open Road Sets Awards Season Release for Reggie Hudlin’s Thurgood Marshall Thriller (Starring Chadwick Boseman)



Having already played Jackie Robinson and James Brown, Chadwick Boseman is taking on another real-life icon in a courtroom thriller about Thurgood Marshall.

Under the direction of Reginald Hudlin, Boseman stars as the legendary attorney in “Marshall,” a film that focuses on a case early in the career of the Supreme Court justice.

Via the press announcement: “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.”

Joining Boseman in front of the camera are Sterling K. Brown as Joseph Spell, the defendant at the center of the above case; Keesha Sharp plays Buster Marshall, Thurgood’s wife; and Josh Gad is Samuel Friedman, the young Jewish lawyer who partners with Marshall on the case.

Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens and James Cromwell round out the starring cast.

Paula Wagner is producing through her Chestnut Ridge Productions banner along with Jonathan Sanger and Hudlin.

Open Road has set an October 13 release date for “Marshall,” it was announced today – just in time for awards season.

“I can’t wait for the world to see this movie,” Hudlin said. “It’s a thriller, not a biopic, about an early case of one of the greatest lawyers in American history. In a time when we need heroes who fight for justice, ‘Marshall’ is an inspirational movie that brings people together.”

The film is being produced with the full cooperation of the Thurgood Marshall and Samuel Friedman estates.

By the way, there’s a second movie featuring Marshall as a young lawyer that’s in the works. Lionsgate is developing an adaptation of Gilbert King’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Devil in the Grove,” with Anton Corbijn to direct.


  1. Waymeant… I wonder if Chadwick will get dragged the way Zoe Saldana got dragged for playing Nina Simone? [Of course he’s not lightening his face, but…] There is a serious double standard when it comes to representations of black men vs. black women in terms of complexion, shade, and hue. Just sayin’…. Light skin garners you mobility in American society, even in the early 20th century. Marshall was shaped by his experiences as a black man AND as a light skinned black person. It mattered. Lets not pretend that it didn’t/doesn’t. Whether he spoke to these experiences or not. How/will they address this in the film? Jeffrey Wright played MLK and Denzel Washington played Malcolm X, so there are plenty of examples where complexion in casting choices did not matter. Talent was what mattered. Aside from Saldana’s darkening of her skin (which should have been addressed), the public never gave her a chance. There where other actresses who could have played Simone; and there are other actors who could have played Marshall. It’s interesting.

    • No, its not. Your argument cease to exist at “he didn’t do any face lightning”. She shouldn’t have taken the role. Granted, Thurgood Marshall was light skin I’ll grant you that, but I think here we don’t really know anything as a whole about his mannerisms or how his voice sounded.

    • @ Africameleon, you’ve presented a valid argument, one that Brad seems to have missed. HERE–> “Light skin garners you mobility in American society, even in the early 20th century. Marshall was shaped by his experiences as a black man AND as a light skinned black person.”.

      That’s an Issue Marshall (himself) spoke on. His ability to go were other darker blacks could not was something he spoke on. @ Brad, so Marshall’s “mannerisms” is not the focus of AFRICAMELEON’s concerns. That said, also, to some degree the sound of his voice is also relevant. Think about Denzel’s “Malcolm” and David Oyelowo’s MLK, their performances were enhanced by mimicking their respective icons.

      Consequently, I am more concerned about Chadwick Boseman’s acting ability more-so than his skin color. As James Brown he went the caricature route. As Jackie Robinson he played second fiddle to the white savior, Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. And his acting was just that… second chair.

      But this time I think the cavalry has arrived in the shape of Reginald Hudlin. Listen, many have argued that white guys can direct a black cast. Well, I agree, they can, HOWEVER, Tate Taylor and Brian Helgeland cannot reach the true emotions and mannerism of a black man better than, A BLACK MAN. Consequently, if Chadwick misses a beat, Reginald will have no problem telling him “look man, you and I know that mess was funky, so let’s do it again>” And I am sure Boseman will have no problem saying “yes sir, you’re right”. But see, the white guys might not catch the little nuances of the black experience that Reginald would. To that point, that’s why Denzel loves working with Antoine Fuqua, “race” and color does not impede the process. Feel me?

      • Off rip I can’t think of any YOUNG light skinned actor that could bring the type of gravitas of Marshall. Jeffrey Wright would be my first choice based on acting ability. Laurence Fishburne for an older Marshall. Outside of judicial rulings how well documented is Marshall’s mannerisms and persona. The burden of a realistic portrayal is virtually nil. If Chadwick turns in a convincing performance inline with the general audience perception of Thurgood I don’t foresee any level of backlash.

        • ” inline with the general audience perception of Thurgood”

          Random, use yourself as a guide, I bet that perception is 180% removed from anything you’ve seen in Chadwick. Most people will FIRST see a light-skinned man. To that point, anyone remotely familiar with the man ( which I will assume is the target audience for this film) will instantly reject Chadwick’s image.

          Btw, you did see Fishboune’s portrayal, didn’t you? Well, he set the bar up on the moon. In fact, his Thurgood was on par with Jamie Foxx’s Ray Charles. So Chadwick has a tough row to hoe.

          I think he should leave it alone. .

          • Opps…. 180 “degrees” removed, not percent. You know, like a straight line moving in the opposite direction.

  2. Excellent. Great cast led by a great director. This is coming out at a very important time and will undoubtedly inspire people to become do-ers to help bring about the change they wish to see.

    • This was the complaint when Sidney P played TM in the TV movie some years ago. It will be interesting to see how RH handles it in his direction.

    • No shit Sherlock! You trippin. The article is about Chadwick Boseman, not Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, those three guys who survived the fiery furnace. So stop trippin’. Denzel has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards for acting his ass off. Chadwack?

      • Oh no shit, my bad professor. I can best sing it in a song, “Mother, mother
        There’s too many of you crying
        Brother, brother, brother
        There’s far too many of you dying
        You know we’ve got to find a way
        To bring some lovin’ here today – Ya.” As you know the words to a marvin gaye classic. Chadwick has more acting experience than you, but perhaps you fit the complexion better and would like an audition.

        • Lame. This is not about me. I was simply responding to your implication that the actor’s “color” was THE major issue of concern. But since we’re here, Denzel’s complextion is not that noticeably different than Malcolm X’s, in my opinion. So I don’t know why they are even being used to support the argument that darker skinned actors can play lighter one without it being a distraction.

          Again, I just don’t believe Chadwick is the best actor to play this part. That said, if the tone of the film is akin to that in Get On Up, then yes, he can play that less-than serious role. Yep, Chadwick can ham-it-up with the best of them. And no, I would not like an audition…. but I’d probably kill it 🙂 What about you? I hear Spike is having an open call for his re-boot. Well, actually its working title is Sal’s Pizza Joint.

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