Lighthearted at times, Cooley High also addressed serious topics such as gang violence, masculinity, sexism and the value of education in the black community. That made it fertile ground for Franklin, the former Sony exec who has focused on films with uplifting content; Chicago native Common, who with John Legend shared the Oscar for Best Song for Selma‘s “Glory”; and Krantz, whose father Steve Krantz produced the original film. They felt it a timely project in light of the racial unrest that has followed several high-profile shootings throughout the country.
Franklin will produce through his Franklin Entertainment, Common under Freedom Road Productions and Krantz through Flame Ventures. Drew Comins will executive produce for Flame Ventures along with Derek Dudley for Freedom Road. Jonathan Glickman and Adam Rosenberg will oversee the project for MGM, which is coming off the success of Me Before You, which it produced. That pic, starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin based on Jojo Moyes’ bestseller, has grossed $172.9M worldwide since Warner Bros released it last month.