– by Stephon White

Creed 2 director Ryan Coogler is producing a biopic on Black Panther activist and leader Fred Hampton, titled Jesus Was My Homeboy. The film will show Hampton’s Judas in the form of William O’Neal, a key informant for the FBI against the Black Panthers due to his time spent infiltrating the activists. O’Neal died in 1990 by suicide. FX’s Atlanta actor Lakeith Stanfield is in talks to play William O’Neal. Black Panther’s Daniel Kaluuya is in talks to portray Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.

Newlyweds director Shaka King will helm and produce the film. Scripting duties were handled by King and Will Berson writer of Sea Oak. The filmmakers plan to cover the events leading to the rise and eventual fall of Panther leader Fred Hampton. The events will be shown from the perspective of O’Neal.

The film sounds like it will be very dramatic. William O’Neal was certainly a dramatic character in his life. He had an early life working as a car thief in the West Side of Chicago. He worked undercover for the FBI and later spent time in Witness Protection before his death in 1990. During his life, O’Neal was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune. He admitted that in the end he had been “just a pawn in a very big game”. O’Neal’s undercover work for the FBI helped them to plan a raid on Hampton’s apartment that ultimately led to both Hampton and Panther leader Mark Clark’s death. Initially ruled as justifiable, later the deaths were speculated to have been the work of state sponsored assassinations.

Jesus Was My Homeboy will be executive produced by Sey Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Poppy Hanks, and MARCO’s Kim Roth.

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SOURCES: Deadline, ChicagoTribune