Judas and the Black Messiah is a film inspired by true events. While the story may be altered, the characters are based on real-life people that went through these situations in real life. While it may be impactful on screen, could you imagine living it? The other eye-opening detail about this film is the scary similarities between some of the struggles of African-Americans in the ’60s and those today.
One of these real-life people that you will see featured in the film is Deborah Johnson. Who now goes by Akua Njeri or Mother Akua. She is a former member of the Illinois Chapter Black Panther Party. She is a survivor of the December 4th, 1969 assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton and Defense Captain Mark Clark. In the film, she is played by the talented Dominique Fishback.
ALSO SEE: JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH TRAILER SHOWS FBI PLT TO ASSASINATE THE BLACK PANTHER LEADER
In Judas and the Black Messiah, we will witness the events the lead to this assassination of Fred Hampton. He is played by Daniel Kaluuya, who does a phenomenal job in the film. The raid that leads to his death is due to the actions of FBI informant William O’Neal. He is played by LaKeith Stanfield. He is offered a plea deal as long as he is able to infiltrate the Illinois Black Panther Party and keeping an eye on Fred Hampton.
Here is the synopsis for Judas and the Black Messiah:
FBI informant William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader, Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya). A career thief, O’Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both his comrades and his handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons). Hampton’s political prowess grows just as he’s falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback). Meanwhile, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul. Will he align with the forces of good? Or subdue Hampton and The Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) commands?
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 (“Fruitvale Station”), pitched the film to Coogler and Charles D. King (“Just Mercy,” “Fences”), who are producing the film with Shaka King. The executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Ravi Mehta, Jeff Skoll, Anikah McLaren, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Ted Gidlow, and Niija Kuykendall.
Ahead of its release this week, LRM Online had the opportunity to talk with actress Dominique Fishback. In the film as stated above she plays Deborah Johnson. During our interview, we talk about her preparation for the role. Also, we chat about her interaction with Mother Akua as she was able to speak with her and learn from her. Overall it was a fantastic conversation that you can check out down below!
Warner Bros. Pictures’ Judas and the Black Messiah debuts in theaters and HBO Max on February 12th, 2020.