EXCLUSIVE: Aldis Hodge (Underground) and Greg Kinnear are set to topline the Tom Shadyac-directed Brian Banks for producer Amy Baer’s Gidden Media and ShivHans Pictures. The biopic tells the story of Banks (Hodge), an All-American high school football player committed to USC by his junior year whose life was upended in 2002 when he was falsely accused of rape. Despite maintaining his innocence, Banks was railroaded through the system and sentenced to a decade of prison and parole.

Brian Banks
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Ultimately, with the help of the California Innocence Project, spearheaded by Justin Brooks (Kinnear), the criminal defense attorney and CIP co-founder, Banks’ conviction was overturned in 2012. He briefly played with the Atlanta Falcons in the 2013 preseason before being cut.

The script was written by Doug Atchison who wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Akeelah and the Bee.

What is also cool about this pic is that production will start later this month in Memphis, where Shadyac lives. He will bring in local film students to shadow and learn while he shoots the film.

The project was originally developed through Baer’s development fund Gidden Media. She will produce alongside Shivani Rawat and Monica Levinson (ShivHans Pictures) who also financed. Banks, Brooks, Derrick Tseng and Neal Strum are executive producers.

Hodge is a multiple SAG Award nominee, best known for his role as Noah in the WGN America series Underground who was recently seen in Ted Melfi’s Oscar nominated Hidden Figures and Straight Outta Compton (portraying MC Ren, a member of the pioneering rap group N.W.A).

Kinnear recently wrapped production on two new films, The Red Sea Diving Resort from director Gideon Raff and the upcoming noir thriller Strange But True opposite Amy Ryan. Additionally, Kinnear directs and stars in The Philosophy Of Phil. On the TV side, Kinnear can next be seen in a guest-starring role in Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams for Amazon.

Kinnear and Hodge’s deals were negotiated by attorney Dan Stutz of Stutz Law Corp. on behalf of ShivHans.

Hodge is repped by Paradigm, Priluck Company and PJ Shapiro and Ben Rubenfeld from Ziffren, Brittenham, and Kinnear is repped by WME and Stone, Genow. Shadyac is repped by Paradigm.