UPDATE: ABKCO Films, the only company authorized by Sam Cooke’s widow and surviving siblings to produce a biopic of Sam Cooke’s life, has stated that recent media reports about a proposed biographical film on the life of Sam Cooke and LC Cooke’s purported involvement with the project are false. ABKCO Films is currently casting a Sam Cooke biopic from a script written and to be directed by Carl Franklin (One False Move, Devil In A Blue Dress, One True Thing) based on Peter Guralnick’s best-selling biography Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. Guralnick also wrote the script for Sam Cooke: Legend, the Grammy winning long form documentary that ABKCO produced.
LC Cooke, brother of Sam Cooke, commented on his role in the project, “Reports that I am involved with or have endorsed any Sam Cooke film biography other than the one that ABKCO Films is producing are totally false. I have been working with ABKCO for many years and am looking forward to bringing Sam’s story to the public in the near future.”
ORIGINAL STORY (9:19 p.m. ET, March 17, 2015): The singer and songwriter found success in the late ’50s, with 30 top 40 hits, including “Wonderful World” and “Twistin’ the Night Away.” He worked with artists like Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye and went on to start his own label.
Cooke’s life ended at 33 when he was found dead in a motel in South Los Angeles. Police reports said he kidnapped a woman and then attacked the manager, who reportedly shot and beat him. But Cooke’s family and friends have contended there may have been a conspiracy to kill the person who was fighting for black musicians’ rights and against mob-connected music executives.
Cooke’s family members L.C. Cooke and Eugene Jamison, who will function as a consultants on the authorized biopic, took an interest in working with Antonio because he wanted to explore this angle.
“For years, people have becoming at us to do a movie about Sam. But he was the first person who sounded like he wanted what we wanted: the truth to come out about my uncle and his death,” Eugene Jamison said to THR.
Because of this Antonio will have access to family documents and people that were important in Cooke’s life. He is also working with author B.G. Rhule (One More River to Cross: The Redemption of Sam Cooke) on the project.
Antonio is a former police officer who transitioned to the world of music, film, and television.
“It’s the ’60s, you could do it like Selma, but it’s not the direction I’m going with,” Antonio explained to THR. “My pitch to them was a murder mystery. Who did this? And it’s being written in that fashion.”