In Crown Heights, Lakeith Stanfield—who you’ve seen in Atlanta, Get Out, Selma, Straight Outta Compton, and just about every other important piece of Black cinematic work that mattered in the past few years—takes on the role of Colin Warner, a Black man who was wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and spent 21 years in prison as a result. It’s a tragically common story, and one that the 26-year-old California native felt passionate about bringing to life.
“[Colin] moved here from Trinidad to Crown Heights, and the moment that you come to America, you cease to be whatever you were,” Stanfield tells CASSIUS. “You’re either Black or you’re white. I feel like that’s what’s happened to Colin, and I can directly connect to that because I never was a member of the group that’s like you’re innocent before you’re guilty.”
The compelling film, which earned the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, was directed by Matt Ruskin (Booster, The Hip-Hop Project). It also co-stars Nnamdi Asomugha (executive producer, Beasts of No Nation), Natalie Paul (Boardwalk Empire, Power), Bill Camp (Midnight Special), Nestor Carbonell (The Dark Night franchise, Imperium), and Amari Cheatom (Django Unchained, The Alchemist Cookbook).
Crown Heights, distributed by IFC and Amazon Studios, is in theaters now. Check the film’s official website for showtimes, as well as a comprehensive look at Colin Warner’s story.