Oscar Grant movie in the works

April 18, 2012 1:24:53 AM PDT
A new film is in the works about Oscar Grant and the day leading up to his killing on a BART platform three years ago by a BART police officer. It appears an Academy Award-winning actress is set to play a big role in the project. But not everyone in Oakland thinks the film is a good idea.

Production on the project could begin in July. Oscar Grant's mother says it's her understanding that some of the filming will take place in Oakland. The family signed a deal with the producer a while ago, but the project finally became public Tuesday.

The independent film is titled "Fruitvale," named after the Oakland BART station where Grant was shot by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year's morning 2009.

Grant's family hopes the film serves a purpose.

"The police department and police officers around this country need to be clearly dealt with in the manner that they're doing wrong in the community," Grant's uncle Cephus Johnson said.

"We want people of color to see the disadvantage we have, we want them to learn from what happened to Oscar to stop that from happening to anyone else," Grant's mother Wanda Johnson said.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Octavia Spencer, who won an Oscar for her supporting role in "The Help," is slated to play Wanda Johnson.

"I'm looking forward to that; I'm looking forward to her doing me well, playing me well," Wanda Johnson said.

The actor in talks to play Grant is reported to be Michael B. Jordan, who has appeared in "Chronicle."

"Fruitvale" is the brainchild of East Bay filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who is the writer and director. He declined to talk about the project until it was finished.

Some in Oakland, though, don't think the film is a good idea. Gayla B. Libet is a civil rights attorney.

"The anger's already happened, which was valid," Libet said. "Why do another upsurge of that?"

Coogler was introduced to Grant's mother through attorney John Burris, who represented the family in their civil case against BART. Grant's mother would not discuss her deal with the producer or any possible financial terms.