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ROMAN J. ISRAEL. ESQ.

About The Cast
To play opposite Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell was cast as George Pierce, the head of a large law firm who invites Roman to join when he is asked to shut down Jackson's civil rights practice. "I was incredibly drawn to the story from the opening page," he says. "Dan is an incredible writer. It's an incredibly humane script. It's got so much heart, and works on an acutely intellectual level."

"George is a lawyer who's lost his way in the checks and balances of the responsibility and burden of running such a big and successful law firm," says Farrell. "George is a creature of ambition - he's intelligent and has reached a great degree of success - but I don't know how content he is. He's a bit full of his own self-importance, and there's a bit of a moral vacuum in his life."

For Gilroy, part of the joy of directing was watching the scenes between Washington and Farrell. "You've got two great talents in the same frame, it was amazing to watch," he says.

Carmen Ejogo, who audiences will remember from Ava DuVernay's Selma, takes the role of Maya Alston, the civil rights activist who befriends Roman.

"Maya is running the offshoot of a national organization - in essence, it's all-volunteer," says Gilroy. "At first, you think she has everything put together and she's taking charge, but when she sees Roman's battle, she opens up and reveals how vulnerable she is herself.."

"When one of her colleagues dismisses Roman as an eccentric, she comes to his defense," says Ejogo. "Her line is, 'You stand on his shoulders.' None of the work being done today would have been possible without people like Roman, and she may be the one person who sees that."

She was excited to join the project after reading Gilroy's screenplay. "There was something intensely soulful about this piece that resonated with me," she says. "It's also a subject matter that felt very prescient and for many reasons felt like worthy material to get into."

"The challenge for any of us is to figure out how to pursue a life that is gracious and caring of others when there is money involved - that is, most of us become ambitious to earn more and provide ourselves a better life and potentially lose sight of our compassionate selves in the process," says Ejogo.  "Roman and Maya both instinctively and intuitively know this - money muddles morals."

Ejogo enjoyed the experience of working opposite Washington. "Denzel is very, very methodical and very committed to the choices he's making," she says. "He's very focused as a result, and you come onto the set with regard and appreciation for that - it's always Roman that you are encountering when you are with Denzel on the set."

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