Antoine Fuqua is developing a film about the late activist and Black Panther affiliate Fred Hampton. The project is based on Jeffrey Haas’ 2009 book The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther, according to Variety. Beginning at the age of 15, Hampton inserted himself into the world of activism by organizing a chapter of the NAACP at his high school and later became the chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party at age 20.
Haas’ book, adapted for the screen by screenwriter Chris Smith, uncovers the controversial events surrounding Hampton’s 1969 murder. The 21-year-old was shot dead in his bed as 14 officers opened fire during a police raid. Though Hampton’s death was ruled as a “justifiable” homicide by officials, Hampton’s surviving family members filed a civil lawsuit in 1970, which resulted in a settlement of $1.85 million in 1982. The untitled project is a part of Fuqua’s new production deal with Sony Studios.
For the filmmaker, the new deal is a homecoming of sorts as the film studio has helmed some of his biggest films including “The Equalizer,” “Training Day,” and his breakout feature, “The Replacement Killers.” “I started my feature film career almost 20 years ago at Columbia,” Fuqua said to Variety about rejoining Sony for his new deal. “Since then some of my biggest career achievements have been with the studio. I am proud of our work together and am very much looking forward to this new collaboration and our upcoming creative endeavors.”
As Fuqua continues to develop his Fred Hampton project, fans can expect the filmmaker to reteam with Denzel Washington for the sequel to their 2014 blockbuster, “The Equalizer,” which will hit theaters September 2018.
According to Variety.com, more than 1,400 guests at the 4th Annual Spring Break: Destination Education fundraiser held at Sony Studios on Saturday helped raised $1.5 million. The money benefits City Year, an organization that strives to keep kids in high school until they graduate.
“I love the idea of kids helping kids and these young ambassadors are saying, ‘Hey, look I’ve been through it, I made it through it, you can, too,’” said Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer, who is involved with the program. “I think it is a tragedy the number of kids that don’t make it to graduation.”
Spencer said she has visited some of the 22 schools that the program reaches in Los Angeles and loves the work they’re doing. “Education unlocks the keys to all of life’s doors. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be of a name, you just have to have that foundation. It’s all about giving kids that foundation,” she said.
The packed event featured games for kids and adults, including an E! News booth contest trying to win the opportunity to introduce musical guest Aloe Blacc who performed later in the evening.
Others showing their support included: Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt, Diego Boneta, Jason Bateman, Jenna Elfman, Minnie Driver, Sean Hayes, Timothy Olyphant and Usher.
Morgan Freeman accepted the American Film Institute’s 39th Life Achievement Award on a Sony Studios sound stage in Culver City on Thursday night, basking in 3 1/2 hours of film clips and tributes from Clint Eastwood, Tim Robbins, Forest Whitaker, Garth Brooks, Betty White and more.
“I’m proud to be an actor, although for this one night, you’ve made me feel like a star,” Freeman said.
The AFI celebration included clips of Freeman’s legendary films and early performances interspersed with recorded segments of Freeman and other actors and filmmakers reflecting on his career. And yes, his singing and dancing on public TV’s ’70s kids show “The Electric Company” was included.
Freeman blew Robbins a kiss when “The Shawshank Redemption” star said, “It was an honor being locked up with you, Morgan.”
Also on hand at the star-studded event, to name a few (and only a few): Helen Mirren, Samuel L. Jackson,Matthew McConaughey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Cary Elwes, Djimon Honsou, Kimora Lee Simmons and film critic Leonard Maltin.
“This is easy to take but hard to believe. Where I come from in Mississippi, they call this walking in high cotton,” he said. “For me, heaven has always been about acting in the movies.”