Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal has signed on as an executive producer for “Foster Boy” 

Dave McNary for Variety

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal has signed on as an executive producer for “Foster Boy,” a legal thriller examining the abuses of the for-profit foster care placement system.

O’Neal also receives a “Presented By” credit on the film. RKO Pictures Vice Chair Mary Beth O’Connor and O’Neal’s partner Michael Parris have also joined “Foster Boy” as executive producers.

“Uncle Mike was my friend and role model growing up, teaching me the value of mentorship and, together, we’ve worked on projects over the years devoted to helping young people,” O’Neal said.

“Foster Boy” was written by attorney/screenwriter-and-producer Jay Paul Deratany, based on his experiences as a litigator in Chicago. Matthew Modine and newcomer Shane Paul McGhie star in the legal drama about a high-powered litigator who takes on the case of an African-American young man who suffered in the foster care system.

Considering the Larger Problems with Foster Care in the U.S.

Jay Paul Deratany for The Hollywood Reporter

Jay Paul Deratany, attorney and advocate for foster kids, argues there is a need for more stories about the tragic side of the foster care system.

Film News Roundup: Louis Gossett Jr. Replaces James Earl Jones on ‘Foster Boy’ Drama

Dave McNary for Variety

Louis Gossett Jr. is replacing James Earl Jones as a judge in the reality-inspired feature film Foster Boy, currently in production. Jones departed due to a competing commitment. Matthew Modine and newcomer Shane Paul McGhie star in Foster Boy, a legal drama about a high-powered litigator who takes on the case of a disadvantaged African-American young man. They uncover the abuses of the for-profit foster care system.

‘Foster Boy,’ Legal Thriller About Foster Child, Has Surprising Real-Life Turn Of Events

Anita Busch for Deadline

It’s a case of art imitating life and vice versa. This month, a legal thriller about the abuse of an African-American kid in the foster system from producer Peter Samuelson (Arlington Road) is in post-production and readying for festivals. But just last week, the screenwriter for the film Foster Boy won a $45M judgment against a social services agency — the largest award in the history of the state of Illinois in a case involving the death of a toddler in the foster system.

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