*Jamie Foxx plays wrongly-convicted Death Row prisoner Walter McMillian in Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Just Mercy,” set to arrive in theaters on January 10, 2020.
The award-winning actor previously opened up to Deadline about how “having experienced the incarceration of his own father,” Foxx was about to bring a “deeply heartfelt perspective to the role,” the outlet writes
The emotional drama centers on world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson as he recounts his experiences as a young lawyer and details the case of condemned death row prisoner Walter McMillian.
In 1987, McMillian was “sentenced to death for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie,” per IMDB.com.
“For me as a black man, I felt a responsibility of all of us saying, ‘OK, take a look at what can happen to you,’” Foxx said in a conversation about the film with co-star Michael B. Jordan, who plays Stevenson and is also the film’s co-producer.
Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, fought to get McMillian off death row and exonerated.
“I’m from the South,” Foxx told Jordan. “My father was put in jail for $25 worth of illegal substance. … The very judge that he would have come visit the school and talk to the kids was the judge that presided in this case, putting him in jail for seven years. Now he’s sitting in jail with people who he used to teach.”
Foxx said he pulled from that emotion to portray McMillian.
Jordan noted that there are “so many people I know that are great people that just had a s—ty deck of cards,” he said. “People need to see this story, they need to know this exists.”
He also credited Stevenson for being an inspiration to him.
“Listening to him speak, it is a call to action,” Jordan said. “He puts things in such layman’s terms — you feel you can do anything. The big issue doesn’t feel so paralyzing. I can vote, I can be part of the solution.”
Watch their full conversation in the video above.