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A trailer for “Just Mercy,” released Wednesday, teases a new film which depicts the real-life journey of a lawyer who dedicated his life to helping the wrongfully accused.
"The first time I visited death row, I wasn't expecting to meet somebody the same age as me, from a neighborhood just like ours," Michael B. Jordan's character, Bryan Stevenson, says. Stevenson is the real-life attorney who took on the case of death row inmate Walter McMillian, played by Jamie Foxx.
The movie is based on Stevenson’s 2014 New York Times best-selling memoir, “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.”
Stevenson, a Harvard graduate, ignored easier, high-paying jobs and instead chose to fight for people like McMillian, IndieWire reports. McMillian was a man put on death row for the murder of a white woman after a day-and-a-half-long trial in 1987, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, even though there was overwhelming evidence of his innocence.
One of the trailer’s scenes shows Stevenson meeting McMillian while he is behind bars. A frustrated Foxx slams the table and yells that in Alabama, “You’re guilty from the moment you’re born.” He seems distrustful of the lawyer at first, although the teaser suggests they soon form a bond.
In real life, Stevenson helped fight for McMillian, and his conviction was overturned by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in 1993, according to a 1993 New York Times report.
“Some films have the depth, grace, and emotional power to feel like classics from the very first viewing. ‘Just Mercy’ is that film,” the Film Festival TIFF describes the upcoming film.
The movie, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, comes out on Christmas.
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