Daniel Kaluuya is electrifying in the first trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah.
He stars as Fred Hampton, a young activist who became Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, who were fighting for freedom, the power to determine the destiny of the Black community, and an end to police brutality and the slaughter of Black people.
If any of these themes ring familiar to contemporary life, it's because they are. But the story of Judas and the Black Messiah takes place in 1968 – so much, and so little, has changed. Speaking to Digital Spy and other press, Judas and the Black Messiah filmmaker Shaka King said: "The attitude of the audience is quite up to the message that you're trying to convey.
"I don't just think about what will, what should audiences take away from the movie now but what the audience is picking up one year, five years later, and who knows when this movie comes out what the world will look like."
Kaluuya has already wowed audiences with his role in Jordan Peele's Get Out, which also puts the Black experience at the forefront (and of course Ryan Coogler's Black Panther). It didn't escape viewers then that Kaluuya, a British actor, was portraying an American experience, and it hasn't escaped them now.
But as for his casting, it caused King no concerns: "I'm well aware of the debate. For me, you know I'm born in America, my family's Caribbean and I got a South African name. So, I'm like, literally emblematic of a diasporatic way of thinking."
King added that with so many Black people ending up all over the world, "we have a lot more in common than people think".
Lakeith Stanfield also stars as William O'Neal, a criminal given the chance to avoid prison by becoming an informant for the FBI. He takes the deal, and thus begins a series of events he likely never imagined.
Also starring are Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith and Martin Sheen. Judas and the Black Messiah was originally scheduled for release by Warner Bros on August 21, 2020 but has since been pulled from the calendar, due to The State Of The World.
Judas and the Black Messiah, which was co-produced by Coogler and Charles D King (Just Mercy), was made in cooperation with Chairman Fred Hampton Jr, who said: "We did the proverbial – we put the political pill in applesauce, but still made it recognising that Chairman Fred – we make no bones about it – Chairman Fred was revolutionary. The Black Panther Party was a revolutionary organisation."
When asked what he hoped people took away from Judas and the Black Messiah about his father, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr said: "Chairman Fred, for him it was revolutionary. He's a servant of the people. He was a Black Panther man, body and soul. He had internalised that."
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