The Burial

Oscar winner Jamie Foxx is heading into another cinematic courtroom.

Foxx, who played a lawyer in the deranged 2009 thriller Law Abiding Citizen, is set to both produce and star in The Burial, an Amazon Studios legal drama about a real-life court case involving the owner of a funeral parlor. Get the details below.

Deadline reports that Foxx will star in The Burial, which is being directed by Maggie Betts (Novitiate) and written by Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright (Quill). The outlet says the film is based on a true story, and describes the plot like this: “After a bankrupt funeral home owner decides to sue a rival businessman over a handshake deal gone wrong, the owner hires a flamboyant attorney to handle the case.”

Oddly, the new report does not mention which role Foxx will be playing. But a previous description of the film from two years ago, back when Nebraska and Election director Alexander Payne was flirting with directing the project, gives us a bit more info to work with. That report indicated that The Burial will be about Willie Gary, a successful Black Southern lawyer who earned the nickname “The Giant Killer” by taking down some significant corporate giants in court cases on behalf of his clients. Gary is hired by Jeremiah O’Keefe, the owner of a small chain of funeral homes who claims he had been swindled by a major funeral parlor conglomerate. Although it has not been confirmed, it seems likely that Foxx will be playing Willie Gary in this film.

Deadline describes the movie as a “two-handed drama,” and says that Foxx will star “opposite a legendary role currently being cast.” I’m curious to see if that “legendary role” ends up being for the rival lawyer in this case, or for the part of O’Keefe, because that will likely shape the type of movie this could become: a no-holds-barred courtroom blowout, or a more somber drama between an aggrieved man and his lawyer.

Maggie Betts wrote and directed Novitiate, a 2017 period drama about a nun grappling with her faith, the church, sexual repression, and more. The director won a Breakthrough Director special jury prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and The Burial will be her follow-up feature.

Foxx lends his voice to the lead character in Pixar’s upcoming Soul, and will be somehow be reprising his role as the supervillain Electro in Sony and Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man 3, which is currently filming.

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