David Oyelowo to Star in Real-Life Murder Trial Drama ‘Arc of Justice’
David Oyelowo seems to be making true stories about important figures in black history his beat. After playing a prince in A United Kingdom and a civil rights leader in Selma, he’s now set to play American physician Ossian Sweet, a doctor who was tried for murder in Detroit in the 1920s, in what would come to be known as the Sweet Trials.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Arc of Justice will be based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Kevin Boyle: Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age. In 1925, Sweet was brought to trial under murder charges, for defending his newly bought property against a white mob. The film will be directed by Narcos executive producer Jose Padilha, whose most recent feature was 2014’s Robocop.
Sweet and his fellow defendants were charged with murder after they defended Sweet’s new property against a racism-driven home invasion. The NAACP assisted them in the trial, and in October Clarence Darrow, one of the most famous U.S. lawyers in history (think Scopes “Monkey” Trials) agreed to defend Sweet, and he was acquitted a few months later. In movie form, this has the makings of a really tense legal drama and with the added racial and historical elements this could be another big hit for Oyelowo.