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After making a name for himself directing comedies and documentaries, director Seth Gordon is going in a different direction with the movie TULIA, based on the 2005 book, Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town by Nate Blakeslee.
The book and movie tells the true story of 39 men, mostly African-American, arrested and charged in the summer of 1999 for dealing cocaine in the Texas town of Tulia. The only witness was an unreliable undercover officer named Tom Coleman, and despite that little bit of evidence, almost all the defendants were given sentences of up to 99 years. Coleman received “Texas Lawman of the Year” for his work on the case.
Besides the “larger issues of racial injustice, poverty, desperation and the American war against drugs,” the movie will also cover the efforts by Vanita Gupta and the NAACP to fight against the convictions to get the injustly jailed men acquitted.
Gupta would be a prominent proponent of fighting civil rights battles, appointed by President Obama as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, becoming the top civil rights prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice.
The movie will be produced by Mubina Rattonsey and Zero Gravity Motion Pictures, who bought the rights to Nate Blakeslee’s book and the life rights for Vanita Gupta. They will start looking for a screenwriter soon.
Gordon first got attention for his documentary, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarter, but then transitioned into comedy with Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, followed by the comedy hits, Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief, and the movie remake of Baywatch earlier this summer.
This news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor