Writer/director Richard Kelly, the mind behind such features as Donnie Darko, Southland Tales and The Box, has lined up the true-crime thriller, Amicus, for his next film; Nicolas Cage is set to star. Based on the bizarre case of Lawrence Horn, a former record producer and Motown Records executive who hired a Detroit-based hitman to murder his family in order to inherit their wealth, Amicus follows the 25 year span from the initial crime, through the trial and a resulting lawsuit from the victims’ families. Oddly enough, hired hitman James Perry used a “how to” manual to commit his crime and the families sued the book’s Colorado-based publisher, Paladin Press. On the side of the plaintiffs as a third-party expert (or amicus curiae) was Rodney Smolla (Cage), a First Amendment attorney and professor at William & Mary Law School. Hit the jump for more.
Variety reported that Cage is set to play Smolla and Kelly is making Amicus his next film. Corpus Christi, a thriller that finds an Iraqi war veteran with severe post-traumatic stress disorder forging a dangerous alliance with a wealthy industrialist in Texas, was previously thought to be Kelly’s next effort. Other than the reported attachment of Edgar Ramirez (The Bourne Ultimatum) in the starring role, the cast never came together and the project is still in development.
Amicus would be as much of a departure for Kelly as Corpus Christi would have been (it was expected to have more of a traditional narrative). His previous films have had sci-fi tints, while Amicus draws from the stranger-than-fiction tale surrounding the triple homicide of Horn’s wife, quadriplegic son and his live-in nurse. It will be interesting to see how Kelly focuses the film since the story sprawls across multiple decades. The inclusion of Cage suggests that the focal point will be on the five-year lawsuit between the victims’ families and the publishers rather than the heinous and brutal murders. Financing for Amicus is being secured for a January start date in Atlanta.