A film that’s on the S&A 2018 Oscar list (assuming it’s released this year) is the Denzel Washington legal thriller “Inner City,” writer/director Dan Gilroy’s follow-up to his critically-acclaimed indie thriller, “Nightcrawler.”
The title of the project has been “Inner City” since it was first announced. But today, as THR reports, the film has been retitled, and will be called “Roman Israel, Esq.”
Of course, Washington is the title character in the film which has drawn comparisons to Sidney Lumet’s 1982 classic “The Verdict,” in which Paul Newman plays a lawyer who attempts to save his own career by taking on a medical malpractice case. In “Roman Israel, Esq.”, Washington stars as a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events (starting with his partner having a heart attack), finds himself in a crisis as he realizes things about his firm that draw into question his own personal morality, which leads him to take some extreme action.
Joining Washington in front of the camera are relative newcomers Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight”) and Joseph David-Jones (he will also appears in Kathryn Bigelow’s upcoming period crime drama “Detroit”), as well as Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, Andrew T. Lee, and Nazneen Contractor. No word at this time on what roles each of them has signed up to play in “Inner City.”
The project generated early buzz heading into last fall’s Toronto film market, where it was formally shopped to international buyers.
Busy Charles D. King’s MACRO is co-financing the film with Cross Creek, along with Lone Star Capital.
Todd Black, Brian Oliver and Jennifer Fox are producing. Charles D. King is executive producing with Kim Roth and Poppy Hanks.
The project has all the makings of an awards season contender, if it’s released later this year, which seems to be the plan. Charles D. King’s MACRO may have a pair of them this year, with Dee Ree’s 2017 Sundance noise-maker “Mudbound” also likely to be released (Netflix paid a reported $12.5 million for the film).
Washington had a busy 2016, appearing in both “The Magnificent Seven” and “Fences” (which he also directed and earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance).