Ryan Coogler Will Produce Film About Black Panther Leader Fred Hampton

Ryan Coogler and Charles D. King’s Marco production company are set to produce a new film about late Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The Black Panther director and Marco, which got behind Mudbound, Fences and Roman J. Israel, Esq., will produce Jesus Was My Homeboy for Warner Brothers. Daniel Kuluuya is being considered for the role of Hampton and Lakeith Stanfield is in talks to play William O’Neal, the man who betrayed Hampton to the Chicago Police Department and FBI. The young leader was 21-years old when he was fatally shot by the authorities for his work with the party. Shaka King is the director and he co-wrote the script with Will Berson.

The story will be told from the viewpoint of O’Neal, his motive for infiltrating the Black Panther Party and how the FBI helped him. Zinzi Coogler, Sev Ohanian, Poppy Hanks and Macro’s Kim Roth will executive produce Jesus Was My Homeboy.  Shaka King, The Lucas Bros. and Will Berson wrote the screenplay. 

The Black Panther Party came under the scrutiny of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover who did not want an effective Black Power Movement in the United States. Hampton’s charisma and ability to organize people from diverse backgrounds were seen as a threat to the establishment. Hampton and BPP member Mark Clark were killed in 1969 during an arms raid conducted by a tactical unit of the Cook County’s State Attorney’s Office with the Chicago Police and the FBI. Their families filed a civil suit and received a $1.85 million dollar settlement in 1982 from the City of Chicago, Cook County and the federal government. William O’Neal confessed to his involvement in the conspiracy and committed suicide in 1990. 

The first film about the late leader was the 1971 documentary The Murder Of Fred Hampton which used footage of his apartment recorded by a videographer the night he was killed.