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New biopic will explore Sam Cooke’s mysterious death

on March 18, 2015, 4:50pm

A new biopic about legendary soul singer Sam Cooke is officially on the way. Helmed by producer Romeo Antonio (The Woods, The Unforgiven), the project is ready to move forward after receiving approval from the late musician’s family members.

Tentatively titled Sam Cooke: The Truth, the film will reportedly not be like most music biopics: Instead of exploring Cooke’s life and career, it will take a closer look at the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death.

Update – March 19th: Members of Cooke’s family have denied involvement in this “murder mystery” biopic, claiming they’re working on a different 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,” said Cooke’s younger brother L.C. Cooke.

ABKCO’s script will be based on Peter Guralnick’s Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, and is supposedly the only one authorized by Cooke’s surviving family members. However, Antonio contends he has permission from Cooke’s brother David, his former sister-in-law Phyllis, and his nephew Eugene Jamison.

At the age of 33, Cooke was fatally shot by hotel manager Bertha Franklin on December 11th, 1964 in Los Angeles, California. The court ruled it as justifiable homicide, but his family has long contested the verdict, claiming the killing was part of a much larger conspiracy theory related to the civil rights movement and “mob-connected music executives.”

“For years, people have been coming at us to do a movie about Sam,” Cooke’s cousin Eugene Jamison recently said. “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.” Antonio, who will have access to family archives and documents, plans on approaching the film as though it was “like a murder investigation.”