In yet another in a series of signs that maybe the descendants of popular soul singers are just a difficult lot in general, Rolling Stone reports that the murder-mystery Sam Cooke biopic announced yesterday—which producer Romeo Antonio touted as “authorized”—isn’t authorized at all. In fact, a rival company, ABKCO Films, has already purchased the rights to Cooke’s life story, and is developing a script based on Peter Guralnick’s biography Dream Boogie: The Triumph Of Sam Cooke. As the company said in a statement:

Recent media reports about a proposed biographical film on the life of Sam Cooke and L.C. Cooke’s purported involvement with the project are false. ABKCO Films is the only company authorized by Sam Cooke’s widow and surviving siblings to produce a biopic of Sam Cooke’s life.


ABKCO has even hired Devil In A Blue Dress director Carl Franklin to helm the project, meaning Antonio’s project is probably the Jackie Jormp-Jomp in this situation. Still, Antonio insists he has the blessing of Cooke’s family, telling The Hollywood Reporter that he has the support of two of Cooke’s siblings and one nephew. Of course, Cooke had seven siblings—who now have children of their own—so both parties could very well be telling the truth. The real question, though, is who has the rights to Cooke’s discography and who will be singing a medley of “Blue Berry” and “I Just Really Hurt My Thumb.”