"America's on fire, right now." There's a brand new trailer for drama Judas and the Black Messiah – and Oscar attention may be in the offing. Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya pairs with Sorry To Bother You's Lakeith Stanfield for a drama that seethes with a sense of racial tension, eliciting uncomfortable parallels with today's climate.
The Warner Bros movie, billed as being inspired by true events, stars Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, chairman of the controversial Black Panther political movement. The Black Panthers are decried as a dangerous insurrectionist threat by the white elite, represented by an unrecognisable Martin Sheen as FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover.
The solution: get someone to infiltrate the movement and report back on their operations. To that end, petty criminal William O'Neal (Stanfield) is employed to go undercover, setting in motion a story of divided loyalties and identity crises.
The movie threads together the destinies of its two black protagonists as everything reaches boiling point. The two lead actors (who briefly shared screentime in the Oscar-winning Get Out) are set to bring the firebrand charisma that has marked their previous big-screen roles. Kaluuya was captivating in the recent Queen & Slim while Stanfield stood out in Adam Sandler movie Uncut Gems.
Director Shaka King graduates from indie offerings and TV episodes to a fully-fledged, topical drama that is bound to get people talking. Also behind the camera: Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, who knows a thing or two about socially conscious and provocative dramas of racial tension (see the acclaimed likes of Fruitvale Station).
Judas and the Black Messiah will have its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on 1st February 2021, before enjoying a wide release later this year. Will the Oscars come calling? Let us know @Cineworld.