EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Foxx is back in tune with Ray helmer Taylor Hackford. Foxx has just joined the cast of Signal Hill, the working title of the drama that will star Anthony Mackie as attorney Johnnie Cochran,.and Elizabeth Banks as Mary Neiswender, an investigative newspaper reporter for the Long Beach Press-Telegram who investigated and broke stories on the coverup. Long before he defended O.J. Simpson in the trial of the century, Cochran established himself as a legal superhero because of his unrelenting pursuit of justice in the Signal Hill police brutality case in 1981. Foxx, who won the Best Actor Oscar for the Hackford-helmed Ray, here will play Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt. Cochran represented the former Black Panther party leader and Vietnam vet in helping to overturn a murder conviction that sent Pratt to prison for 27 years for a crime he said he didn’t commit. Cochran helped Pratt to settle a false imprisonment suit for $4.5 million in 1992.

The script is by David McMillan. Mackie and Jason Spire will produce with Robbie Brenner, Kevin McKeon  and Jeff Kwatinetz. Hackford will also be producer. McMillan is exec producer and the hope is to go into production in January. UTA and CAA are co-repping domestic rights.

RonSettlesLBSUFootballWhile Cochran would go on to represent celebrities from Simpson to Michael Jackson and Jim Brown, his rise to fame as an advocate for blacks suffering in police brutality cases was galvanized by his work in the landmark Signal Hill case. He represented a football player, Cal State Long Beach star Ron Settles, who had been picked up for speeding in Signal Hill, in Los Angeles County. Shortly after his arrest, he was found hanged in his cell. The police called it a suicide, but an autopsy — performed after Cochran persuaded Settles’ family to exhume the body — showed that he had been choked to death. The family was awarded $760,000 in a civil suit, the police chief resigned, and reforms were mandated.
Fox is coming off Baby Driver and wrapped the Otto Bathurst-directed Robin Hood with Taron Egerton. He’s repped by CAA and LBI.