James Earl Jones has been tapped along with newcomer Shane Paul McGhie as well as Matthew Modine to star in a new indie drama, Foster Boy. 

The script is written by attorney-turned-screenwriter-and-producer Jay Paul Deratany, who based it on his experiences as a top litigator in Chicago. The story puts Modine’s character at the center of a trial in which a for-profit corporation, contracted by the state to provide foster children safe homes, instead places a known sex offender into the same home as the young client, with catastrophic results. An edge-of-the-seat legal struggle finally brings justice to the young man.

Modine plays the litgator, Michael Trainer, Jones plays the judge in the high-tension trial and McGhie is the young defendant, Jamal.

It is based on true events. One of the film’s producers, Peter Samuelson is the co-founder of First Star, which is at the forefront of addressing the foster care crisis. First Star Academies house, educate and encourage high school-age foster youth on 13 university campuses, where they also build a sense of community that is missing in their lives.  Currently, 91 percent go on to colleges and universities.

“There are an estimated 400,000 children in foster care in America,” Deratany said.   “They are basically unrepresented, with few ways to shape their destinies. Why? One simple reason: they are children. They have no money and they have no voice.”

“Foster children are the last great civil rights victims in America,” Samuelson added. “After 25 years, I thought I had retired from producing, but Jay’s script was too compelling and too important.”

Foster Boy is directed by Youssef Delara and is produced by Deratany, Samuelson, Anne-Marie Mackay and Andrew Sugerman.  John Schimmel, and Thom and Matt Lipari serve asexecutive producers. Foster Boy has been entirely financed by equity investment.

The production is partnered with nationally recognized charities Children’s Rights of New York, the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego, and First Star of Los Angeles, as expert advisers on the story.