Before Chadwick Boseman starred as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, the actor was best known for his turns in the biopics 42 and Get On Up. Boseman got to make one more biopic between his Marvel movies, the 2017 courtroom drama Marshall, in which he played a young Thurgood Marshall. The Oscar-nominated film will be available on Netflix on Wednesday, Sept. 1.
Marshall was directed by Reginald Hudlin (The Great White Hype, Ladies Man) and focuses on one of the first major cases in Marshall’s career. In State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell (1940), Marshall represented Joseph Spell, a Black chauffeur accused of raping a white woman, Eleanor Strubing. Spell confessed to being intimate with Strubing but did not confess to rape. The jury found him not guilty. In Marshall, Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) stars as Spell while Kate Hudson plays Strubing. Josh Gad played Sam Friedman, the white insurance lawyer who joins Marshall’s team, and James Cromwell plays the judge.
The film was written by Michael Koskoff and Jacob Koskoff. It earned mostly good reviews for Boseman’s performance but was ignored in theaters. It grossed just $10 million during its run. “Stand Up For Something,” performed by Andra Day and written by Common and Diane Warren, was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2018 Oscars.
After the events depicted in Marshall, the real Marshall went on to become the first Black Supreme Court Justice. He served from October 1967 until October 1991, when he retired. Before he served on the Supreme Court, Marshall founded the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and argued several cases before the court, including Brown v. Board of Education. He died in January 1993 at age 84.
Marshall will hit Netflix a few days after the one-year anniversary of Boseman’s death. Boseman died on Aug. 28, 2020, at age 43 following a battle with colon cancer. The actor was diagnosed in 2016, but he did not publicly announce this and never stopped acting. Earlier this year, he earned a posthumous Oscar nomination for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is also available on Netflix.
Boseman’s Marshall co-star Gad was among the many who posted tributes to Boseman this weekend. “Not a day goes by one year later, where it doesn’t still hurt,” Gad tweeted. “But in the darkness, he always reminds us of the light. He was an angel on this planet and is now a Saint on high. Love you and miss you more than ever… forever.”