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Thurgood Marshall biopic opens Chicago Film Fest Oct. 12

“Marshall,” director Reginald Hudlin’s legal drama about a key early success in the career of future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, will open the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival Oct. 12.

Expected on the red carpet that evening: Chadwick Boseman, whose portrayal of Marshall joins his biographical turns as Jackie Robinson in “42” and James Brown in “Get On Up”; co-star Josh Gad (the voice of irrepressible Olaf in “Frozen”), who plays Marshall’s fellow lawyer; producer Paula Wagner; and director Hudlin (“Serving Sara,” “The Great White Hype”).

“Marshall” focuses on an inflammatory 1941 trial, “The State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell,” in which the rising legal star defended an African-American chauffeur accused of sexual assault and attempted murder of his white employer.

At the time Marshall worked for the nearly bankrupt NAACP. One newspaper account called the case “the most sensational sex mystery in history,” marking a turning point in the historical cycle just before the Civil Rights era.

The full line-up for this year’s festival, Oct. 12-26, will be announced next week. For more information and tickets, call 312-683-0121.

Phillips is the Chicago Tribune film critic.

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