Forest Whitaker To Produce Oscar Grant Biopic Fruitvale
It's been three years since police gunned down Oscar Grant at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station, but his story has not been forgotten. A major motion picture chronicling the life and death of the Oakland, Calif. resident is in the works.
Forrest Whitaker will produce the film alongside his Significant Productions partner, Nina Yang. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, and actor Michael B. Jordan, are in talks to star indie drama.
Titled Fruitvale, after the BART station where Grant was killed, the screenplay is penned by Ryan Coogler who will also direct the motion picture. Pending approval of final negotiations, Jordan – who starred in the sci-fi flick Chronicle –will play the role of Grant, while Spencer will play his mother. The film is set to look at the friends, family members, and strangers whom Grant crossed paths with on his last day alive.
In 2009, the 22-year-old was fatally shot in the back by police officers in the early morning hours of New Year's Day. Grant's shooting was captured by several bystanders via cellphone. Despite the evidence against them all of the officers involved received little, if any, disciplinary action for the incident. Among those who got off easy was Grant's shooter, Officer Johannes Mehserle. While he was initially slapped with murder charges, Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. In November of 2010 the former police officer was sentenced to two years behind bars with credit for time served, and was released in June of last year.
Civil Rights attorney, John Burris filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit against BART on behalf of the Grant family, in addition to a $1.5 million claim on behalf of his friends, who were unlawfully detained following the shooting. BART later settled with Grant's mother and daughter for $1.3 million.
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