Roadside Attractions has obtained the U.S. distribution rights to the Edward Zwick-directed true-crime drama Trial by Fire and has slated a release date for May 17. Based on a 2009 article in The New Yorker by David Grann, the film starring Jack O’Connell, Laura Dern, Emily Meade and Jeff Perry premiered at last year’s Telluride Film Festival.
Adapted by Precious scribe Geoffrey Fletcher, the Texas story centers on the unlikely bond between an imprisoned death row inmate (O’Connell) and a mother of two from Houston (Dern) who fights mightily for his freedom. Cameron Todd Willingham, a poor, uneducated heavy metal devotee with a violent streak and a criminal record, is convicted of arson-related triple homicide in 1992. During his 12 years on death row, Elizabeth Gilbert uncovers questionable methods and illogical conclusions in his case and battles with the state to expose suppressed evidence that could save him.
Zwick produced the project with Allyn Stewart, Kipp Nelson and Alex Soros, who also financed the film. Exec producers are Kathryn Dean and Marshall Herskovitz.
The deal was brokered by Roadside Attractions’ Howard Cohen and Cinetic Media.