The first trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah is out and opens with actor Daniel Kaluuya stating “I am a revolutionary.”
The film is set in the 1960s and tells the story of Fred Hampton (played by Kaluuya), an activist in the 1960s who became leader of Chicago’s Black Panther Party.
“You can murder a freedom fighter,” Kaluuya says dramatically in the trailer, “but you can’t murder freedom.”
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Hampton’s life was cut short at age 21, when he was assassinated by the FBI in 1969. William O’Neal (played by LaKeith Stanfield) was the informant who provided information that led to Hampton’s death.
The trailer for the Warner Bros. film premiered Thursday during a panel at the virtual NABJ-NAHJ convention.
The film is written and directed Shaka King, who defended his decision to cast Kaaluya, a British actor, in the lead role.
“My casting choices were very instinctive,” he said. “I’d seen Daniel’s work in Get Out and Black Mirror, and I knew of his talent. Honestly, I knew he was the guy. I didn’t know why he was the guy, I just knew. When I was finally introduced to him and I sat down with him, it was only confirmed and reconfirmed because he has this certain gravitas to him that you rarely find in someone his age.”
The Ryan Coogler-produced historical drama also stars Jesse Plemons (Vice, The Post), Dominique Fishback (The Hate U Give, The Deuce), Ashton Sanders (The Equalizer 2, Moonlight) and Martin Sheen (The Departed, The West Wing).
The film was originally scheduled for release on Aug. 21, 2020, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been pushed to 2021.
Watch the trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah below.