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July 2007
TULIA casting update

TULIA casting update
by Wilson Morales

July 25, 2007

In a turnabout switch or sorts, Carl Franklin is no longer attached to direct the Halle Berry/ Billy Bob Thornton vehicle,'Tulia'. Blackfilm.com has learned that John Singleton will now direct the long-delayed film for Lionsgate. Berry will portray the key attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in a case involving the 1999 arrests of 10% of the black population of Tulia, Texas. The arrests did not produce drugs or money, causing prosecutors and civil rights groups to denounce the bust as racial profiling. The undercover agent who conducted the bust was indicted for perjury; most of the 46 arrestees were pardoned by Texas Gov. Rick Perry last year. The character that Berry plays is not African American but Indian. Thorton is definitely attached to the film and Columbus Short is being wooed for a role in the film as well. 'Tulia' is an adaptation of the Nate Blakeslee book "Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town." Shooting will take place in Texas.

"Tulia" is a co-production between Element Films and Lift Films. Pic is being produced by Mike Tolin, John Singleton, and Charlotte Sumpter.

"Tulia," had been in development at Paramount-based Tollin/Robbins for several years until Lionsgate picked it up. As of a few days ago, Variety reported that Franklin will be directing 'The Maintenance Man' for Screen Gems. Berry's last film was 'Perfect Stranger' with Bruce Willis and will star opposite Benecio Del Toro in the upcoming, 'Things We Lost in the Fire'. Singleton last directed the ensemble film, 'Four Brothers' with Tyrese Gibson and Mark Wahlberg in 2005, but recently produced Craig Brewer's 'Black Snake Moan' and Franc Reyes''Illegal Tender', which opens on August 24th.



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