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Cillian Murphy, who recently won an Oscar for his performance in last year’s blockbuster historical hit “Oppenheimer,” is set to produce and star in a film adaptation of “Blood Runs Coal,” the true crime story of the murder of Joseph Yablonski and his family by a rival mining labor leader in the 1960s. Universal Pictures, the studio behind “Oppenheimer,” has landed the adaptation, which will be written by Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth. The film will be a scripted adaptation of Mark A. Bradley’s book “Blood Runs Coal: The Yablonski Murders and the Battle for the United Mine Workers of America.” The book details the assassination of United Mine Workers labor leader Joseph Yablonski and his family as the mining industry faced significant changes.

Cillian Murphy will play the role of Chip Yablonski, Joseph Yablonski’s son who narrowly escaped the murders that killed his family. Chip dedicated his life as an attorney to seeking justice for his father, who was involved in a political rivalry with United Mine Workers president Tony Boyle. Boyle was found to have hired hitmen who killed the Yablonskis, leading to his indictment on conspiracy charges. Steve Halvonik, book reviewer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, described the Yablonski murders as “one of the most shocking episodes in organized labor’s blood-soaked history.”

Joseph Yablonski, a coal miner’s son, became active in the United Mine Workers labor union following his father’s death in a mining explosion. Yablonski served as an executive board member and president of his local union district in Pennsylvania, challenging then-President Tony Boyle for leadership in 1969. After losing the election, Yablonski asked for a federal investigation into possible fraud, leading Boyle to order his murder. Three hitmen hired by Boyle killed Yablonski, his wife, and daughter on New Year’s Eve. The scandal led to major democratization reforms in the United Mine Workers and other organizations.

Cillian Murphy’s role in “Blood Runs Coal” adds to his list of period pieces, including his Academy Award-winning performance in “Oppenheimer,” set in 1942. Murphy has also starred in other historical films such as “Peaky Blinders,” “Dunkirk,” “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,” and “Anthropoid.” Murphy will reprise his role as Tommy Shelby in a film follow-up to the series “Peaky Blinders.” The release date and production information for “Blood Runs Coal” have not been announced by Universal Pictures.

The true crime story of the Yablonski murders sheds light on the corruption and power struggles within the United Mine Workers labor union in the 1960s. Joseph Yablonski’s fight for justice against Tony Boyle’s leadership ultimately led to his tragic assassination along with his family. The upcoming film adaptation of “Blood Runs Coal” will explore these events and the impact they had on the mining industry and organized labor. Stay tuned for more updates on the production and release of this highly anticipated movie.

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