Washington Living for the ‘Inner City’

Several days before the release of his latest film, The Magnificient Seven, Denzel Washington has locked up his next gig as he is in negotiations to star in the legal thriller, Inner City.

The co-production deal between Sony Pictures and Cross Creek Pictures will team Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy and Washington together.

The under $40 million picture is described as ‘Michael Clayton meets The Verdict,’ a potboiler legal thriller set in Los Angeles. Washington plays a hard-nosed liberal lawyer named Roman J. Israel who has been fighting the good fight forever while others take the credit. When his partner, the firm’s front man, has a heart attack, Israel suddenly takes on that role. He finds out some unsettling things about what the crusading law firm as done that run afoul of his values of helping the poor and dispossessed, and finds himself in an existential crisis that leads to extreme action.

The film will begin production in Los Angeles in March. In the deal configuration, Cross Creek will be co-financier under its Sony deal. Jennifer Fox is producing with Escape Artists’ Todd Black and Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver. Fox produced Nightcrawler (she works regularly with that pic’s producer Tony Gilroy) and she and Dan Gilroy developed this. Black has worked closely with Washington on The Equalizer and The Magnificent Seven.

Gilroy captured the seamy side of Los Angeles in his sleeper indie hit Nightcrawler (he got an Oscar nomination for the script and the film won two Spirit Awards) and with brother Tony Gilroy he wrote The Bourne Legacy. Washington is about to come out in the Antoine Fuqua-directed The Magnificent Seven from MGM and Paramount, and he directed and stars in Fences later this fall.

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