Casting Call: Devil in the Grove

Published June 26, 2013

In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

On July 16, 1949, a young white couple, Norma and Willie Padgett, told police that four black men had abducted and raped the 17-year-old Norma in Groveland, Florida. The young men, known as the Groveland Boys, were forced to deal with the corruption of their local law enforcement, violence from the Klu Klux Klan, and the injustice and discrimination that was attached to the color of their skin. Gilbert King, author of the Devil in the Grove, recounts the horrific details of the Groveland Boys case with a specific emphasis on the famous civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall.

Lionsgate Entertainment has recently acquired film rights to the chilling Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Groveland events. Though a release date has yet to be be determined, according to Deadline, the movie is a “high priority” for Lionsgate. Adam Cooper and Bill Collage have agreed to write the script for the film, while Allison Shearmur is producing. The movie will abide by the book fairly closely, following Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP’s legal team as they attempt to save the lives of the Groveland Boys. Both Cooper and Collage have agreed to expand the role of journalist Mabel Norris Reese, making her character stronger than presented in the novel, while Shearmur is on the search for a powerful black male lead to embody the admirable Thurgood Marshall. We thought we’d help them out.

Casting Call runs every Friday. For more, click here.