Lee Daniels has picked his next project. The Oscar nominee will direct a biopic on Brian Banks, a college athlete falsely accused of rape and forced to serve five years of a prison sentence before his accuser admitted she made the whole thing up.
Banks was an All-American high school football player who had committed to USC's prestigious football program in 2002, when his life was upended when a classmate falsely accused him of rape. A hasty plea-bargain resulted in Brian serving over five years and two months in prison, five years on parole and registering as a sex offender.
With the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks’s conviction was overturned in 2012. He returned to the gridiron after a 10-year hiatus, playing UFL football and going through six NFL tryouts before finally making the Atlanta Falcons’ 75-man roster in April 2013.
“All I ever wanted was to prove my innocence,” said Banks. “Telling my story in the form of a feature film is beyond my wildest dreams. Having Lee Daniels come on board to direct the film is so exciting, and such an honor.”
The project is currently seeking a writer and no cast has been attached as yet, but this is surely a prized role for a young Black actor.
But The Brian Banks Story isn't the only football drama in the works. Charles S. Dutton has just signed on to star in Carter High, a sports drama about a formidable high school football team in Texas that overcame adversity to win the Texas State Championship. After the win, nine of the scholarship players went on to commit a string of robberies and were apprehended before the start of their freshman college seasons, leading to prison sentences.
Vivica A. Fox and Pooch Hall will also star in the film.
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(Photos from left: Larry Busacca/Getty Images, AP Photo/Nick Ut)