Opposing biopics on the life of Sam Cooke in the works


December 2015 will mark 51 years since legendary soul singer Sam Cooke was mysteriously shot dead in a seedy Los Angeles hotel and fans may soon have not one, but two films to tell the story of Cooke’s life and untimely demise.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, record producer Romeo Antonio is currently at work on a biopic about Cooke that will lean more toward a murder mystery as it tries to uncover what really happened at the Hacienda Motel on Dec. 11, 1964, that resulted in Cooke being fatally shot by motel manager Bertha Franklin, Though ruled a justifiable homicide, members of Cooke’s family have long disputed the ruling.

“For years, people have been coming at us to do a movie about Sam. 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,” says Cooke’s nephew Eugene Jamison.

Despite support from some of Cooke’s family, a second company, ABKCO Films, recently released a statement disputing Antonio’s claims of his film being authorized and claim to have authorization from Cooke’s widow:

“Recent media reports about a proposed biographical film on the life of Sam Cooke and L.C. Cooke’s purported involvement with the project are false. ABKCO Films is the only company authorized by Sam Cooke’s widow and surviving siblings to produce a biopic of Sam Cooke’s life.”

ABKCO purchased the rights to Cooke’s life story sometime ago and is currently developing their own biopic on Cooke’s life based upon Peter Guralnick’s biography Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke with director Carl Franklin (Devil in a Blue Dress) slated to helm the project.

No release date has been given for either film.

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