Glen Powell, Anthony Mackie and Laura Dern to Star in John Lee Hancock Legal Drama ‘Monsanto’

Glen Powell (“Top Gun: Maverick,” “Anyone But You”), Anthony Mackie (“Avengers: Endgame,” “The Hurt Locker”) and Academy Award winner Laura Dern (“Marriage Story,” “Little Women”) will star in the upcoming film “Monsanto” from writer/director John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side,” “Saving Mr. Banks”), Rocket Science announced Wednesday.

The film’s script was developed in association with Karl Spoerri’s Zurich Avenue and written by Michael Wisner, Alexandra Duparc, Ned Benson and Hancock. “Monsanto” is being produced by Moritz Borman, Eric Kopeloff, Philip Schulz-Deyle and Jon Levin alongside HyperObject Industries’ Adam McKay and Kevin Messick.

Rocket Science will launch international sales out of Cannes later this month. CAA Media Finance is handling the domestic rights.

“Monsanto” tells the true story of young, untried attorney Brent Wisner (Powell) who takes on a seemingly insurmountable case against the giant U.S. chemical company Monsanto on behalf of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson (Mackie), who used Monsanto’s best-known product Roundup, a wildly financially successful weed and grass pesticide killer, as part of his job as a high school groundskeeper. During the trial, Dr. Melinda Rogers (Dern), the chief toxicologist of the Monsanto Company, testifies with certainty that Roundup is safe.

“I’ve always been fascinated by true stories of ordinary people against extraordinary odds,” Powell said in a statement to TheWrap. “This story encapsulates that spirit with a critical issue that affects us all. And it’s a privilege to bring it to audiences with an exceptional filmmaker and powerful cast.”

Dern added: “I’ve loved my collaborations with John Lee and look forward to working with him again. There couldn’t be a more vital story to be a part of.”

“I was drawn to this contemporary David vs. Goliath true story because I found it dramatic, moving, quite funny and of critical importance in today’s world,” director Hancock said. “My ambitions are to deliver a smart, thoughtful and commercial legal drama that takes the audience on a human journey.”

McKay added: “These days, stories about the ‘little guy’ taking on huge institutions seem few and far between. Both in real life and on the big screen. So, when a story as riveting and inspiring as this one shows up on our desks, we get excited. Why? Because people love and need these movies. They always have and always will. ‘Erin Brockovich,’ ‘Silkwood,’ ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ ‘Spotlight,’ ’12 Angry Men,’ ‘Moneyball,’ ‘Norma Rae’ … I legitimately think I can list 200 wildly successful and beloved films about real people standing up against overwhelming odds with only fairness and truth on their side. So, let’s make number 201.”

Powell has quickly become one of today’s biggest stars, with his turns in such blockbuster hits as the romantic comedy “Anyone But You” opposite Sydney Sweeney and “Top Gun: Maverick” attracting widespread acclaim. He also stars in Richard Linklater’s “Hit Man,” which he produced and co-wrote with Linklater. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and releases theatrically later this month, then on Netflix in June. Powell will next appear in the highly anticipated blockbuster “Twisters.”

Mackie has captured a plethora of characters throughout his career, originally making his film debut as Eminem’s nemesis in Curtis Hanson’s “8 Mile.” He starred in Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-winning “The Hurt Locker,” as well as in George Nolfi’s “The Banker” for Apple TV+, which he also produced. He is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starring as Sam Wilson/The Falcon in films like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Avengers: Endgame,” and has now taken on the shield of Captain America. His standalone film “Captain America: Brave New World” is currently scheduled to be released in February 2025. Mackie most recently appeared in Peacock’s action comedy “Twisted Metal,” which he starred in and executive produced.

Dern is an Academy Award, Screen Actors Guild, Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning actress. She has starred in such critical and commercial hits as Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story;” Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women;” HBO’s hit “Big Little Lies;” Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” and Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi,” among many others. She recently executive produced and starred in “Palm Royale” for Apple TV+, and will next appear in “Lonely Planet” for Netflix, as well as an untitled Baumbach project for Netflix.

Hancock is best known for directing “The Blind Side” starring Sandra Bullock, which he also wrote and which received an Academy Award nomination. Additional directing credits include “Saving Mr. Banks” starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, one of A.F.I.’s Top 10 Films of the Year; “The Highwaymen” with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson; and “The Little Things” starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto, which he also wrote.

Powell is represented by CAA and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole. Mackie is repped by UTA and Inspire Entertainment. Dern is represented by CAA, Untitled Entertainment, Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole and Latham & Watkins. Hancock is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang.

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