Only a few brief years in the past, Sherri Shepherd shared The View stage with one-time NFL hopeful, Brian Banks, whose soccer profession was lower brief following a rape accusation that was later decided to be false. Tried at 16 as an grownup, the Los Angeles-born athlete agreed to a plea cut price underneath strain that got here with a five-year jail sentence, adopted by 5 years of probation. After his launch, Banks efficiently labored with the California Innocence Undertaking to have the costs dismissed, and appeared on The View to debate his case. Sitting within the studio viewers that morning was his mom, Leomia, who stood by her son as he skilled the numerous injustices of the modern-day American justice system.
Flash-forward to 2019, and Shepherd is now portraying Brian’s beyond-brave mother within the new biographical drama, Brian Banks, a job that challenged her to talk in Leomia’s voice… actually. The actress tells Yahoo Leisure that her huge emotional scene — the place Leomia confesses to fears that she’s failed her son — isn’t a screenwriter’s invention. “That was Leomia’s speech,” Shepherd reveals. “These have been her phrases.” (Watch our video interview above.)
Although Leomia’s phrases have been popping out of Shepherd’s mouth, her thoughts couldn’t assist however flip to her personal son, Jeffrey. Born with developmental delays, the now 14-year-old teenager “acts like somewhat 9-year-old,” in line with his doting mom. “He’s foolish, and he desires to come back and hug you, however he seems like a 15 or 16 12 months outdated,” Shepherd provides. And it’s that discrepancy between his look and his actions that has her involved about how others — significantly these in legislation enforcement — may react to Jeffrey as he grows older. “I’ve a son who might actually be in Brian Banks’s place. When you’ve got kids, that’s the primary project you’ve got — to guard that toddler. Whenever you really feel such as you failed, it’s devastating.”
It’s no secret that the conversations African-American mother and father have with their kids about find out how to work together with law enforcement officials are very totally different than those that happen inside different households, and Shepherd says that she hasn’t but broached that tough topic along with her son. “I don’t know the way you put together [for that]… to should have that dialog with my son that individuals won’t such as you due to your pores and skin shade — they may attempt to hurt you. Even if you happen to’re pulled over, don’t say something till you speak to your mother. Don’t go exterior carrying your hoodie. There are such a lot of restrictions I’m placing on my son. I inform him you may be something you need to be, however listed below are the boundaries. It’s fairly heartbreaking for me.”
With these ideas upmost in her thoughts, Shepherd hopes that Brian Banks will convey consideration to the best way younger African-American males are disproportionally tried and sentenced throughout the judicial system. “I hope that the movie conjures up individuals to make use of their voices to change the justice system,” she says, emphasizing that that change begins on the poll field. “We actually must do the work to select the proper D.A., and the proper choose, as a result of God forbid your little one is ever in entrance of a type of individuals who holds their future of their arms. You need to make it possible for they characterize you.”