Glen Powell, Anthony Mackie, and Laura Dern are set to star in “Monsanto,” a drama based on the true story of an upstart lawyer who took on one of the most powerful and controversial chemical corporations in the U.S.

“Monsanto” is being co-written and directed by John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side,” “Saving Mr. Banks”), and it’s also being produced by Adam McKay, who has long been vocal about the climate crisis and the impact corporations like Monsanto in particular have had on the environment.

The film is being introduced to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival Marché du Film beginning next week, with CAA Media Finance handling domestic rights and Rocket Science handling international sales.

“Monsanto” tells the true story of young, untried attorney Brent Wisner (Powell) who sues the giant U.S. chemical company on behalf of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson (Mackie), who used Monsanto’s weed and pesticide product Roundup for his job and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result. Dern plays Dr. Melinda Rogers, the chief toxicologist for Monsanto, who testified that Roundup was safe.

The story was also told in a 2022 documentary titled “Into the Weeds” based on the 2018 trial, though the script for this film was developed by Karl Spoerri’s Zurich Avenue and written by Hancock, Michael Wisner, and Alexandra Duparc.

The producers on “Monsanto” are Moritz Borman, Eric Kopeloff, Philip Schulz-Deyle, and Jon Levin alongside HyperObject Industries’ McKay and Kevin Messick. 

“I’ve always been fascinated by true stories of ordinary people against extraordinary odds,” Powell said. “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.”

“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,” Dern said.

“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,” Hancock said. “My ambitions are to deliver a smart, thoughtful and commercial legal drama that takes the audience on a human journey.”

“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,” McKay said. “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 been especially busy of late, appearing in the hit rom-com “Anyone But You” and the upcoming “Hit Man” from Richard Linklater and “Twister” sequel “Twisters.” He also recently joined another project from A24 called “Huntington” and will star in a remake of “The Running Man” from director Edgar Wright.

Mackie will next be seen in “Captain America: Brave New World” as the new Cap opening in February 2025, and he also starred in and executive produced the Peacock video game adaptation “Twisted Metal.”

Dern starred in and produced “Palm Royale” for Apple TV+ and will next appear in “Lonely Planet” and Noah Baumbach’s next movie, both for Netflix.

Hancock most recently directed 2022’s “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.”

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

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