Director Lee Daniels has a reputation for making movies about important topics. Precious took an unblinking look at inner-city poverty. The Paperboy dared audiences to take an unblinking look at Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron. And Lee Daniels’ The Butler may well be the most important film ever made. Daniels seems poised to continue his streak with a new project about Brian Banks, a high school football player who was wrongfully imprisoned for five years.
Banks, who had committed to play football for USC before being accused of rape by a classmate, was railroaded into a plea deal he was told would result in no more than 18 months of imprisonment. He ended up getting sentenced to six years in state prison plus five years of probation, and was made to register as a sex offender. Years later, attorneys with the California Innocence Project uncovered DNA evidence that exonerated Banks of the rape, and the victim admitted that it had never happened. His conviction overturned, Banks went on to play football for the Atlanta Falcons, and is currently a free agent.
The story is suitably harrowing, and seems well-suited to Daniels’ penchant for melodrama. Expect it to be the kind of movie you grudgingly feel like you should see when it comes out in a few years.