Angela Davis’ upcoming biopic has added another producer.
Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker has joined the forthcoming film about the political activist, author and educator, Variety reported Wednesday.
Executive produced by Davis, Sidra Smith and Codeblack Enterprises CEO Jeff Clanagan, the film will chronicle the life of the Black Panther associate, whose profound work around oppression, feminism and civil rights has served as a catalyst for modern activists including those in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Davis was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1970 after being accused of conspiracy in the death of a Superior Court judge in California. In 1972, after 16 months in prison, Davis was acquitted of all charges.
Elements of the film will hit close to home for Whitaker. In 2013, he told The Guardian that his experiences growing up in Compton, California, around the Black Panthers were different from the negative portrayals that were often made of the group.
“My memory of the Panthers, for instance, is very different from most people’s because as a kid I remember them on my street, and how nice they treated me,” he recalled. “Free breakfast program, free schools, outreach and community work, gang members working hand in hand, Crips and Bloods.”
“They invited me to go get breakfast every day,” he said. “Then there’s the other great divide going on again because my mom’s like: ‘Oh, you’re not going there, nuh-uh.’”
Lionsgate’s Codeblack acquired the film rights to Angela Davis: An Autobiography last year.
Whitaker’s involvement with Davis’ motion picture will follow his production credits on “Fruitvale Station” and Roxanne Shanté’s upcoming biopic, “Roxanne Roxanne.”