Buzzworthy Film: Sherri Shepherd plays 'courageous' mother of wrongfully convicted athlete, Brian Banks
Written By Doris Timothy // Movies // EEW Magazine
Actress Sherri Shepherd is starring in the upcoming biopic, Brian Banks, about a former football star of the same name, who was imprisoned due to a false claim of rape. The film hits theaters August 9, 2019.
The Emmy-Award winning former co-host of ABC’s “The View,” plays Banks’ mother, Leomia Meyers, whom Shepherd calls “humble, yet strongly courageous.”
“She never gave up on her son,” wrote the standup comic on social media, who jumped at the chance to play the dramatic role. “Every other week, Leomia drove 3.5 hours to see Brian when he was incarcerated. Brian Banks credits his mom with keeping him sane while he was falsely imprisoned.”
In 2002, at age 17, when the athlete was wrongfully convicted of rape, he was an All-American high school football player, destined to play in the NFL. But a high school acquaintance, Wanetta Gibson, lied and said Banks raped and kidnapped her following a consensual sexual encounter on the school campus. Although the accused maintained his innocence, his freedom was ultimately stripped away.
Nearly a decade after Banks’ conviction, Gibson recanted her statements and admitted she fabricated the entire story, despite having sued the Long Beach Unified School District for failing to provide a safe environment and receiving a settlement of $1.5 million dollars. Thanks to the California Innocence Project, spearheaded by Justin Brooks, the criminal defense attorney and CIP co-founder, Banks’ conviction was overturned in 2012.
Shepherd, who is inspired by Meyers’ fierce courage, unrelenting passion and unwavering strength in the face of such a traumatic trial, said, “Mothers you are your kids’ rock. You’re the one they will lean on in the storm.”
She then added, “Please go out and see Brian Banks.”