Photo of Sam Cooke

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty

A new biopic based on the iconic life of singer Sam Cooke is officially in the works, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The publication reports that music and film producer Romeo Antonio has struck a deal with Cooke’s family to develop the idea, with the script set to be written by Mary Krell-Oishi.

Various members of Cooke’s family, including L.C. Cooke and Eugene Jamison will act as consultants on the project. It’s reported that they will provide access to family documents and various people who were notable in Cooke’s life, including Zelda Samuels, the singer’s assistant. The Hollywood Reporter says that Antonio has already conducted a “five-hour on-camera interview” with the now 84-year-old.

In addition, Antonio will also be working closely with author B.G. Rhule, who wrote One More River to Cross: The Redemption of Sam Cooke.

The famed singer was found dead at the age of 33 in a motel in South Los Angeles. His death is somewhat suspicious, with various family members arguing that there may have been a conspiracy to kill him, especially considering Cooke’s then-continuing fight for Black musicians’ rights.

It’s Cooke’s dubious death that has spurred on the biopic, with Antonio saying that he aims to make the film “shine new light on Cooke’s circumstances.”

“For years, people have becoming at us to do a movie about Sam,” said Jamison. “But he was the first person who sounded like he wanted what we wanted: the truth to come out about my uncle and his death.”

“It’s the 60s, you could do it like Selma, but it’s not the direction I’m going with,” Antonio says. “My pitch to them was a murder mystery. Who did this? And it’s being written in that fashion.

“I am treating it like a murder investigation,” he adds.

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