Michael B. Jordan may be diving headfirst into franchise fare with next month’s Fantastic Four, but it appears that he’s not leaving his dramatic roots behind. THR reports that the actor has signed on to star in an adaptation of Bryan Stevenson’s memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Race and Redemption for director Destin Daniel Cretton, who helmed the fantastic indie drama Short Term 12.
The project will be produced by Gil Netter (Life of Pi) for Broad Green Pictures and revolves around the life of Stevenson, a founder of the Equal Justice Initiative who fights to defend the poor and wrongly condemned trapped in the criminal justice system. Just Mercy follows some of Stevenson’s first cases, including that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to death after a day-and-a-half long trial for a murder he didn’t commit, despite the fact that he was surrounded by witnesses at a barbecue during the time of the crime.
Cretton is writing the script with Andrew Lanham (The Glass Castle), and he seems like an absolutely perfect fit for this kind of project. With Short Term 12 he tackled issues of child abuse and child abandonment with tact, never delving into melodrama or maudlin territory, so one imagines he can tackle this similarly timely material with the same approach.
Jordan has yet to commit to his next project, so it’s possible Just Mercy could be it. He stars in the great-looking Rocky follow-up/spinoff Creed, opening this fall, and he’s attached to return for Fantastic Four 2 if the first film is a hit, but it’s nice to hear that the Fruitvale Station star is still keen on telling tough, important, dramatic stories in smaller pictures.