Pleasing fans of smooth, soulful sounds and cold cases, according to The Hollywood Reporter record producer Romeo Antonio is working on a biopic about soul singer Sam Cooke. But this won’t be one of your standard awards-bait musical biopics like Ray, or even a weird, fragmented musical biopic like last year’s Get On Up. Instead, as Antonio puts it, “It’s the ’60s, you could do it like Selma, but it’s not the direction I’m going with.”
The direction he is going with is a murder mystery. According to official reports, Cooke was shot dead by the manager of a motel across town from his home in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood on December 11, 1964. The shooting was ruled to be in self-defense, a claim that Cooke’s family has been disputing ever since.
Perhaps that’s why Cooke’s younger brother L.C. Cooke and nephew Eugene Jamison approved this particular biopic, which they say is officially authorized. “For years, people have becoming at us to do a movie about Sam. But [Antonio] was the first person who sounded like he wanted what we wanted: the truth to come out about my uncle and his death,” Jamison says. Antonio adds that, “I am treating [the film] like a murder investigation,” even though it is a fictional movie, and we’re pretty sure those aren’t admissible in court.