Lee Daniels—whose last film, The Butler, grossed $116.6 million—will next direct a movie about Brian Banks, the promising high school athlete whose football career was derailed by a false accusation of rape that sent him to prison for more than five years. “All I ever wanted was to prove my innocence,” said Banks, in a statement. “Telling my story in the form of a feature film is beyond my wildest dreams. Having Lee Daniels come on board to direct the film is so exciting, and such an honor.”
Currently titled The Brian Banks Story, the film will be produced by Daniels and Amy Baer (Last Vegas). There is no script yet.
Banks was one of California’s top high school players when he was accused of kidnapping and raping a classmate in 2002. Though he denied the charge, his lawyers feared going to trial and suggested pleading no contest. He served more than five years in prison and was registered as a sex offender. In 2011, however, the victim contacted him via Facebook with the intention of renewing their friendship. Banks videotaped their meeting, in which she admitted to fabricating the charges and said that Banks never raped her. With the help of the California Innocence Project, the new evidence cleared Banks of the crime and he ended up earning tryouts with several NFL football teams. He was profiled by 60 Minutes in 2013.