Straight Outta Compton's Aldis Hodge stars as football player Brian Banks in the trailer for director Tom Shadyac's true story drama, Brian Banks. Shadyac isn't exactly known for tackling biographies like this, having spent much of his career working on broad comedies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Nutty Professor, and Bruce Almighty. However, in the twelve years since he suffered a nearly fatal biking accident in 2007, the filmmaker has changed course and begun to focus his efforts on different ventures.
In addition to making a documentary about his experiences (titled I Am) in 2011, Shadyac has been teaching film at universities in Colorado Boulder and Memphis for the last few years. Brian Banks marks his first non-documentary feature as a director since Evan Almighty in 2007, and held its world premiere at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival, where it got generally positive reviews. The docudrama is currently gearing up for its release in theaters this summer, with Bleecker Street onboard as its distributor.
Hodge stars in Brian Banks as the film's namesake, a Long Beach high school football star who was committed to USC when he was falsely accused of rape by a classmate, and ultimately sentenced to a decade of prison and probation. Banks thereafter sought the help of the California Innocence Project, in a bid to take back his life and realize his dream of playing in the NFL. You can watch the trailer for Brian Banks in the space below.
Early reviews have pegged Brian Banks as being a somewhat slick biopic elevated by Hodge and the performances from his costars, like Greg Kinnear (The Twilight Zone) and Melanie Liburd (This Is Us). The official trailer leaves a similar impression, suggesting the film is a well-meaning, if not necessarily ground breaking, look at the U.S. justice system, and how race and/or class-based privilege affects the way that people like Banks are treated in the eyes of the law. It's pretty challenging subject matter all in all, but so far it appears that Shadyac and writer Doug Atchinson (Akeelah and the Bee) have done a respectable job of handling it.
Brian Banks is set to hit theaters in a few months on August 9, where it will open against the adaptations of the Artemis Fowl and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark novels, as well as the comic book movie The Kitchen. It's going to be a pretty competitive weekend, but the idea is clearly for Shadyac's film to offer some dramatic counter-programming to the bigger studio releases arriving that day. Banks' story is certainly one that deserves to be told, so here's to hoping that it manages to find a sizable audience.
Source: Bleecker Street