We reported about six months ago that Terrence Howard was in talks to play Thurgood Marshall in New Line's The Crusaders, a film about the 1954 Brown v Board of Education case, in which the Supreme Court struck down the concept of "separate but equal." And, if Variety's report this morning is reliable ... they're still talking. Great work, New Line -- way to hustle that movie into production! Now, at least, they're talking someone else, too: Topher Grace is in negotiations to star with Howard as Jack Greenberg, the naive young white guy who teamed with Marshall (then the head of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund) "to help end segregation in schools." New Line has also brought in John Romano to rewrite the script, which is based on Crusaders in the Courts, Greenberg's memoir of his experience working on Brown v Board and with Marshall. In addition to a new writer, the film also has a new director, with West Wing and Sports Night (YAY!) veteran Alex Graves replacing the previously-announced Brad Silberling. God only knows when this one will finally get going -- the major changes combined with the endless negotiations with Howard make it clear it's not exactly on the fast-track.
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