Warner Bros. makes Just Mercy available for free as education on 'systemic racism'
Amidst protests around the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, Warner Bros. has made its recent film Just Mercy available to rent for free, hoping it will serve as an education "about the systemic racism that plagues our society."
Released in December, director Destin Daniel Cretton’s film tells the true story of lawyer and social activist Bryan Stevenson's (Michael B. Jordan) mission to free Walter McMillan (Jamie Foxx), an Alabama death row inmate wrongfully convicted of murdering a white woman.
“We believe in the power of story,” reads the Warner Bros. statement. “Our film Just Mercy, based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, is one resource we can humbly offer to those who are interested in learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society. For the month of June, Just Mercy will be available to rent for free across digital platforms in the U.S. To actively be part of the change our country is so desperately seeking, we encourage you to learn more about our past and the countless injustices that have led us to where we are today. Thank you to the artists, storytellers and advocates who helped make this film happen. Watch with your family, friends and allies. For further information on Bryan Stevenson and his work at the Equal Justice Initiative please visit EJI.org.”
Ahead of Just Mercy's release, EW talked with Foxx, who earned a SAG Award nomination for the role, about "drawing from the matter-of-factness of racism" that he dealt with growing up in Texas. “When I met with Destin, I said, ‘Destin, you have to understand, I was just born. I had nothing to do with being born this color, but it’s interesting how much this color brings out rage, brings out anger, brings out happiness, brings out perception, brings out stereotypes, brings out a whole lot of things when you’re black,’” Foxx recalled. “Being black is the greatest — and sometimes the most difficult. Just being born, somebody hates me for that.”
In conversations with EW, both Foxx and Jordan hoped that viewers would walkaway from the film with a desire to join the fight in their own way. “I just hope it opens their eyes,” said Foxx. “We’re not beyond reality, where everybody is suddenly going to lead the charge, but as long as it’s out there and everybody can rally around it, to where it’s not black or white, it’s just a human thing. This is a movie where everybody feels like they can help. This is the right kind of medicine that we need.”
Adds Jordan: “I want people to feel something after they watch this movie. I want them to go home and figure out what their ‘thing’ is. You don’t have to be some fancy, educated defense attorney to attack this issue. Each person can do something to be a part of the fight, to be a part of the change.”
Listen below to the full conversation with Foxx.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.