Lionsgate has 'Tulia' locked up
EmptyLionsgate has resurrected "Tulia," the long-gestating Tollin-Robbins project starring Halle Berry as a lawyer investigating an infamous Texas drug bust. The producers are in negotiations with Carl Franklin to direct the feature.
The film centers on the 1999 arrests of 46 black men in the impoverished town of Tulia, Texas -- a sting effort where no money, drugs or illegal weapons were found on any of the suspects. Berry will portray the lead attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which intervened to free the citizens wrongly convicted based on one crooked cop's testimony.
The story is based on the nonfiction book "Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town" by Nate Blakeslee. Karen Croner wrote the screenplay.
The producers are: Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Sharla Sumpter for Tollin-Robbins Prods.; Berry and her manager, Vince Cirrincione; Jesse Beaton; Adam Rosenfelt and Sam Nazarian, both of Element Films, who will produce in conjunction with New Orleans-based LIFT Films.
Mike Paseornek and Tom Ortenberg are executive producing and overseeing for Lionsgate.
Production begins May 1 in Louisiana.
Franklin's most recent projects include "High Crimes" and "Out of Time." He's repped by UTA.
Berry is repped by ICM, Cirrincione and attorneys Neil Meyer and Doug Stone. She starred most recently in 20th Century Fox's "X-Men: The Last Stand."