Josh Gad has joined Chadwick Boseman in the case of Marshall, the biopic about Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall being directed by Reginald Hudlin. Gad, who next will play Roger Ebert opposite Will Ferrell in STX’s Russ & Roger, steps into a key role in the movie — that of insurance lawyer Sam Friedman who partners with Marshall on what becomes a controversial and high-profile case.
Gad’s character is based on the real-life Friedman who was plucked out of obscurity and given a front row seat to history when he and Marshall started working together on a case — to defend a black chauffeur named Joseph Spell against his wealthy socialite employer in an alleged sexual assault and attempted murder trial in a conservative Greenwich, CT court.
In need of a high profile victory but muzzled by a segregationist court, the young Jewish insurance lawyer (who has never tried a case) and Marshall struggle against a hostile storm of fear and prejudice as they fight for truth. The controversial case, which made headlines all over New York, prompted the NAACP’s national headquarters to become involved; the NAACP’s local chapter in Bridgeport is the office that actually hired the white Friedman to help Marshall. It is a key case in the history of this country and helped set the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement.