Five decades after his death, Sam Cooke’s life story is coming to the big screen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cooke’s biopic will not only focus on his life but also give an in-depth look into his murder. Romeo Antonio is set to develop the movie.
“It’s the 60s, you could do it like Selma, but it’s not the direction I’m going with,” Antonio said. “My pitch to them was a murder mystery. Who did this? And it’s being written in that fashion.”
Cooke’s younger brother, L.C Cooke and cousin Eugene Jamison will serve as consultants during filming and allow access to family documents.
“For years, people have been coming 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 told THR.
Antonio is still in the beginning stages and has held an interview with Cooke’s former assistant Zelda Samuels and has linked with B.G Rhule who authored his biography One More River to Cross: The Redemption of Sam Cooke.
Cooke was found dead in 1964 at age 33 in a South LA motel room after being shot by the motel manager Bertha Franklin. She faced no charges after his death was deemed a “justifiable homicide” after a witness claimed that Cooke was the aggressor. His family never believed this story and always felt that his death was a conspiracy because Cooke fought for musicians’ rights and often clashed with mob-connected music execs. Cooke is known for hits like “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “Wonderful World” and “Twistin’ The Night Away.”