EXCLUSIVE: Moonlight breakout Ashton Sanders, currently starring as RZA in Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga, is in talks to join Warner Bros and MACRO’s anticipated Black Panthers pic Jesus Was My Homeboy, starring Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta), Jesse Plemons (The Post) and Dominique Fishback (The Deuce).
The Ryan Coogler-produced film will follow the rise and untimely demise of iconic Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton (Kaluuya) as seen through the eyes of William O’Neal (Stanfield), the man who betrayed him to the FBI. It will explore how the FBI infiltrated the Black Panthers, the psychology of their informant and the notorious assassination of the young political leader who died at age 21. Production is due to start in mid- to late October.
Sanders is in talks to play Black Panther Party member Larry Roberson. Fishback, the female lead, will play Hampton’s lover Deborah Johnson, the mother of activist Fred Hampton Jr. Plemons will star as Roy Mitchell, one of the primary FBI agents assigned to pursue Hampton and get intelligence from O’Neal.
Black Panther director Coogler and Charles D. King’s (Mudbound) MACRO are producing with finance coming from MACRO and Warner Bros. Shaka King (Newlyweeds) will direct and also produce from a script he wrote with Will Berson (Sea Oak).
Fast-rising actor Sanders co-starred in The Equalizer 2 with Denzel Washington and starred in the Rupert Wyatt sci-fi pic Captive State. He also played the lead in HBO and A24’s novel adaptation Native Son, which launched at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
He is repped by Hyperion and Felker, Toczek, Suddleson and Abramson.