Judas and the Black Messiah is expected to come out in 2021.
The movie stars Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya, who plays Hampton, and LaKeith Stanfield, who plays FBI informant William O’Neal, who infiltrated the Black Panther Party. The movie was directed by Shaka King — who also wrote the movie alongside Will Berson — and produced by Ryan Coogler. Judas and the Black Messiah is ultimately a tragedy; Hampton was killed during an FBI raid in 1969. It has been understood that O’Neal drugged Hampton the night before.
The movie will be released on February 12, 2021, on HBO Max and in theaters. But before then, the movie will make its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on Monday, February. 1st at 6 PM MST on the digital platform.
The early buzz for the movie has been strong. But there has been some minor controversy. Kaluuya is British and some have displayed disappointment about not having someone born in America to play the role of Fred Hampton. It was a discussion sparked by Samuel L. Jackson in 2017 and it continued when Cynthia Eriv played Harriet.
In a virtual panel that Variety was in attendance for back in April 2020, King talked about the debate. And he defined the decision of choosing Kaluuya:
“I’m well aware of the debate around British actors playing American Black, iconic figures…But I was born in America, my family is Caribbean and I have a South African name so I am, literally, emblematic of a diasporic way of thinking…Kidnapped Africans ended up all around the world…We have a lot more in common than people think, in terms of our experience and trying to overthrow white supremacy.”
Watch the trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah below.
This story was updated on January 12, 2021.