Update, March 19: The Cooke family has denied any involvement in the “murder mystery” biopic.

Sam Cooke’s younger brother, L.C. Cooke, has stated that the Cooke family is already working with on a separate movie project with ABKCO Films.

“Reports that I am involved with or have endorsed any Sam Cooke film biography other than the one that ABKCO Films is producing are totally false. I have been working with ABKCO for many years and am looking forward to bringing Sam’s story to the public in the near future,” he said in a statement.

ABKCO Films told Rolling Stone in a statement that it is “the only company authorized by Sam Cooke’s widow and surviving siblings to produce a biopic of Sam Cooke’s life.”

The ABKCO film’s script is based on Peter Guralnick’s Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. Carl Franklin, who previously helmed Devil in a Blue Dress and Out of Time, has been hired to direct, but casting hasn’t yet been confirmed.

Asked by The Hollywood Reporter how his “murder-mystery” version could brand itself as “Cooke family-approved” when ABKCO already had the official rights, director Romeo Antonio said he had the backing of Cooke’s brother David, his former sister-in-law Phyllis and his nephew Eugene.

The minds behind the project envision it as a “murder mystery”.

Aside from being one of the greatest voices in soul music, Sam Cooke acted as an important figure in the civil rights movement. His single ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ remains one of the key songs of the 1960s and only grows more haunting with the knowledge that Cooke had already died by the time it was released. The singer was shot and killed December 11, 1963 in a hotel by a building manager claiming self defense, but the circumstances have left some with doubts, especially Cooke’s family.

Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, producer Romeo Antonio has received the blessing from Cooke’s family to develop a biopic tentatively titled Sam Cooke: The Truth, a film that aims to explore the circumstances around his death.

The film is currently in the earliest development stages so don’t expect it anytime soon. Still, finding support from the family can be one of the biggest speed bumps in a biopic and Antonio has found it.

“For years, people have becoming at us to do a movie about Sam. 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,” said Cooke’s nephew Eugene Jamison.



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