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Nicolas Cage for Richard Kelly's Amicus

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Story by Jack Foley

NICOLAS Cage is to unite with Donnie Darko writer-director Richard Kelly for his next project, the true crime thriller Amicus.

According to Variety, Cage will play Rodney Smolla, one of the most influential First Amendment scholars of the past two decades.

Smolla had a key part to play in the trial of Lawrence Horn, a former record producer and Motown records executive who is currently serving a life sentence for hiring a hitman to murder his wife, quadriplegic son and the wealthy family’s overnight nurse.

Horn’s son was the victim of medical malpractice and was awarded a trust worth nearly $2 million as the result of a subsequent lawsuit, which his father stood to inherit in the wake of his death.

Detectives investigating the case discovered that the hitman Horn hired to commit the murders, named James Perry, used a how-to book called Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors as his guide to carrying out the crimes.

The families of the victims subsequently went on to file a class-action lawsuit against the Colorado-based publisher Paladin Press.

Perry was sentenced to death in 1995 for his killings.

Smolla got involved when the attorneys representing the families hired him to consult on the case, which took five years to settle because of a series of shocking and bizarre developments.

Amicus would represent a change of genre from the sci-fi-tinged films that Kelly is more commonly associated with, which also include Southland Tales and The Box.

It would also mark a first for Cage, in that he has never played a lawyer.

The actor will next be seen in Simon West’s action flick Stolen as well as the serial killer thriller Frozen Ground alongside John Cusack.

Shooting on Amicus is due to commence next January.

Next story: Principal photography begins on Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man