O’Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both his comrades and his handler Special Agent Roy Mitchell. Meanwhile, Hampton’s political prowess grows just as he’s falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson, portrayed by Dominique Fishback from The Hate U Give. After falling into a bit of trouble with police, an ultimatum is established leading to a battle of wages for O’Neal’s soul. The movie will reveal whether O’Neal aligns with the forces of good or if he falls in the hands of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s commands to set up Hampton and The Black Panthers.
Inspired by true events, Judas and the Black Messiah is directed by Shaka King, marking his studio feature film directorial debut. The project originated with King and his writing partner, Will Berson, who co-wrote the screenplay, and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas, who co-wrote the story with Berson & King.
King, who has a long relationship with filmmaker Ryan Coogler, known for award-winning films Black Panther, Creed and Fruitvale Station, pitched the film to Coogler and Charles D. King, who are producing the film with Shaka King. The film enlists a star-studded cast featuring Ashton Sanders, Martin Sheen, and Jesse Plemons.
The film is slated for release in theaters nationwide on February 12, 2021 and will be available in the U.S. on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release.