Anthony Mackie
Anthony Mackie is set to play OJ Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran in an upcoming biopic helmed by Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom director Justin Chadwick Anthony Harvey / Getty

Captain America: Civil War star Anthony Mackie looks to be the latest actor who will bring American lawyer Johnnie Cochran to life, as he signs on for Justin Chadwick's biopic focusing on one of the man's old case files. Cochran is best known for defending OJ Simpson and winning the former football player acquittal back in the murder case surrounding his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, in the early 1990s.

However the drama film won't concentrate on that infamous trial, rather one centred around a particularly high-profile brutality case that took place in 1981 in Signal Hill, California. It involved the arrest of then football player, Ron Settles, who was arrested for speeding and the morning after, was found severely beaten and hanging in his jail cell. The police issued a statement suggesting that his death was suicide, however, it soon turned into a public outrage case when many voiced their opinion that he had been a victim of inflicted violence from the forces.

No one was prosecuted for Settles' death, but his family, whom Cochran represented, received a $765,000 (£538,353) civil settlement and the town's police chief resigned. The Signal Hill case was just one of a number of incidents that saw a reform in how officers should appropriately handle detainees and prisoners.

While Mackie is no stranger to playing real-life figures having recently starred in TV movie All The Way where he played civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr, he'll certainly have some big shoes to fill when it comes to the role. Earlier this year, Courtney B Vance delivered a career-best performance and widely acclaimed portrayal as Cochran in Ryan Murphy's popular television series The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story.

Johnnie Cochran and OJ Simpson
Cochran is arguably best known for defending Simpson in the infamous murder trial of the early 1990s Pool / Getty

With Chadwick at the helm though, Mackie seems in good stead, as he too is somewhat of a dab-hand when it comes to dealing with historical figures. The British filmmaker previously directed 2013's Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom starring Idris Elba, and The Other Boleyn Girl with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.

While there's no official date set as to when the new movie will start filming, the script is already underway with Judging Amy scribe David McMillan. Mackie is set to produce, alongside The Firm's Robbie Brenner (Dallas Buyers Club) and Jeff Kwatinetz (This Means War) as well as Kevin McKeon (A Formula For Mayhem).

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