Richard Kelly and Nicolas Cage are joining forces for a true crime courtroom drama called Amicus. Variety has the news, saying that Kelly will write and direct with Cage playing Rodney A. Smolla, a First Amendment attorney who seemingly went up his personal and professional principles in a complicated lawsuit related to multiple homicide.
Smolla himself wrote about the case in 1999's "Deliberate Intent: A Lawyer Tells the True Story of Murder by the Book". His text is officially described as follows:
Early in 1992, Lawrence Horn hired a contract killer to execute his ex-wife and his severely brain-damaged son. On March 3, 1992, the man he hired, James Perry, traveled to Silver Spring, Maryland, and murdered Horn's ex-wife and child and the boy's nurse. Perry used a book called 'Hit Man' as an instruction manual for the murders. The subsequent criminal trial became known as the Hit Man case, and after Horn and Perry were convicted of murder, the victims' families surprised the nation by filing an unprecedented wrongful death suit against Paladin Press, publisher of 'Hit Man'. In a controversial turn of events, Paladin was being blamed for the murders.
Distinguished attorney Rod Smolla, First Amendment expert and vigorous advocate of free speech, was approached to represent the victims' families in the civil suit against Paladin. Smolla initially declined, but after reading Hit Man and likening it to 'a loaded pistol or a vial of poison,' he decided to take on the case, even though it seemed to go against his abiding belief in the First Amendment. Smolla argued that if Paladin Press knew and intended that its murder manual 'Hit Man' would be used in the actual planning and execution of contract killings, Paladin was not entitled to immunity under the First Amendment. In an appeal that stunned the legal world, Smolla's argument prevailed and was affirmed by the Supreme Court. 'Deliberate Intent' is the dramatic story of the events behind this landmark case--a story that includes murder, trials, and appeals and, most important, raises fascinating and difficult questions about our most cherished freedom.
The title Amicus is a reference to the latin term "amicus curiae," literally meaning "friend of the court." In the US judicial system, the term applies when someone is brought in to independently gather and present information related to a given case.