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Michael B. Jordan Set to Play Civil Rights Lawyer Bryan Stevenson in ‘Just Mercy’

Just MercyMichael B. Jordan is a man on fire right now.  With several blockbuster movies on the horizon, there’s no limit to the amount of quality projects in his reach. His latest project, however, holds great importance and interest.

Deadline reports that Jordan has signed on to play distinguished civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson in the adaptation of his best-selling book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.  The book is about Stevenson’s battle to give professional counsel to poor men, women and children who are more likely to be charged and convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.

Walter McMillian is the central case in the book. Despite no physical evidence connecting McMillian to a gruesome murder and several alibis confirming he was attending a family fish fry at the time of the crime, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death row. While Jordan’s portrayal of Stevenson shines a bright light on the project, it’s Stevenson himself who is the real star.

Stevenson is one of the most important defense attorneys and civil rights leaders of our time.  Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a non-profit organization dedicated to defending poor people denied effective representation and reforming the criminal justice system.  The organization has saved 115 men from execution.

In 2012, Stevenson and fellow lawyers from the EJI argued court cases Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled in EJI’s favor, stating that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional. Recently, Stevenson has been working to give an accurate count on the number of Black men, women and children lynched in America.  He is working to erect markers where these unjust murders took place.

Stevenson  is one of the most important civil rights figures to emerge over the last quarter century, but his exceptional and crucial work does not get the amount of attention it deserves. However, with this movie entering production, Stevenson will get his turn in the limelight. Snagging a worthy talent and career savvy star like Michael B. Jordan to star in the film doesn’t hurt either.

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