If this year's films don't get further delayed, we could see activist and Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton depicted in two different films in 2020.
Daniel Kaluuya is set to portray Hampton in the Untitled Fred Hampton project from Warner Bros. The film was initially titled Jesus Was My Homeboy. The film also stars Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith, Martin Sheen, Lil Rel Howery and Jermaine Fowler. It will follow "the rise and untimely demise of Hampton as seen through O’Neal’s eyes. 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 the age of only 21."
Kelvin Harrison Jr. is set to portray Hampton in Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7. The Paramount Pictures film "follows the infamous 1969 trial of seven defendants charged by the federal government with conspiracy and more, arising from the counterculture protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The trial transfixed the nation and sparked a conversation about mayhem intended to undermine the U.S. government." Yahya Abdul-Mateen II co-stars in the film as Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, with Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alex Sharp, Thomas Middleditch, Frank Langella, William Hurt, Michael Keaton, Mark Rylance also starring.
When you look at the roles and the two movies, there are several things to note. Kaluuya will be the central figure in the Warner Bros. project, as evidenced by its temporary title. As for the Sorkin project, The Trial of the Chicago 7 will focus on the titular trial and those defendants, with Hampton being a periphery character in relation to the larger story. When comparing the actors, Harrison, 25, who has portrayed teens for most of his career so far, is closer age-wise to Hampton's age of 21 at the time he died. Kaluuya is 31.
The Untitled Fred Hampton Project was initially set to be released on August 21, 2020, but was removed from the schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. It doesn't have an updated release yet. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is still holding onto its September 25, 2020 release date, however, it could also get delayed.