Ryan Coogler could be having a big night on Sunday, given the Academy Awards Black Panther is up for (and should win, at least in the design categories). But he's not letting that slow him down, as in addition to a sequel to Black Panther, he's now in talks to produce a movie with Warner Bros about the real Black Panthers.
Entitled Jesus Was My Homeboy, the film would tell the story of Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party, who was assassinated in 1969, aged 21, by a Cook County tactical unit, on the orders of the FBI and Chicago Police Department. Should the project go ahead, Lakeith Stanfield will play Hampton, while Daniel Kaluuya will play William O'Neal, an FBI informant in the Black Panthers who fed the authorities information that ultimately led to Hampton's death. According to THR, the film will frame Hampton's career and death through O'Neal's perspective.
By this point, we don't need to tell you these folks are great at what they do. Coogler directed one of the best films of the decade in Creed; Stanfield has been on a meteoric rise that includes this year's terrific Sorry To Bother You; and Kaluuya was Oscar-nominated for Get Out and should have been for Widows. Coupled with this particular story - one with a legacy that still affects Chicago today - Jesus Was My Homeboy is a damned exciting project. We haven't seen director Shaka King's feature Newlyweeds, but he's also cut his teeth on TV series People of Earth and HBO's High Maintenance.
Fingers crossed the deal goes through.