If it's possible to make someone more excited about Judas and the Black Messiah, director Shaka King has just done. During an interview with Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, King spoke at length about his work on the Fred Hampton biopic and gave glowing endorsements of the performances from LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya.
"It was just a dream. I always say I literally got my first choice for every role. Every single person you see in the movie, I wrote it for them. Before I met Daniel [Kaluuya], knew Daniel, before Ryan [Coogler] even got attached he was who I had in mind for Fred [Hampton]. And Lakeith [Stanfield], I literally wrote it for him. We had been wanting to work together since we met years ago. And the same goes for Dominique [Fishback]. I saw her in Show Me A Hero. I started writing Deborah Johnson, and I was like, ‘That’s Dominique Fishback. I just know it.’ Can’t forget about Jesse [Plemons]; it was the same thing," he told the Wades.
Through stars like Kaluuya, Fishback and Stanfield, King tells the story of William O'Neal was convinced to become an informant for the FBI as they worked to take down Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The actions of the FBI ultimately resulted in the assassination of Hampton.
While putting together a portrayal of this story, King did not only work with Kaluuya and Stanfield. He relied on Darrell Britt-Gibson, Ashton Sanders and several others who delivered some of their best performances.
"Everyone was really in the flow. Every single person was in the flow from the bigger names that I mentioned, to Dominque Thorne and Darrell Britt-Gibson, and Ashton Sanders, who is usually number one on the call sheet. The fact that he was even willing to step in here and just do some character acting. Algee Smith, same deal. Incredible, incredible, incredible actors, and so many that you’re seeing for the first time in this movie, and I’m confident you’ll see down the line a lot more," King added.
The film was originally supposed to hit theaters this year but was pushed back due to the coronavirus. Now, it's scheduled to hit HBO Max in 2021.