Deadline Exclusive: Sherri Shepherd, actress and Emmy-Award winning former co-host of ABC’s The View, has joined Aldis Hodge and Greg Kinnear to co-star the biopic ‘Brian Banks’. Shepherd will portray Banks’ mother, Leomia.
The film tells the story of Banks (Hodge), a standout high school football star at Polytechnic High School (Poly) who in 2002 was falsely accused of rape by a classmate, Wanetta Gibson. A few of Bank’s teammates would go on to play in the NFL including DeSean Jackson, Winston Justice, and Marcedes Lewis.
According to Banks, his lawyer told him that he stood no chance at trial, so he accepted a a plea deal that included five years in prison, five years of probation, and registering as a sex offender. Prior to the allegations Banks had verbally committed to play for USC, but was expelled from school due to the false rape accusations.
In March 2011, Gibson contacted Banks on Facebook, met with him, and admitted that she had fabricated the story. Banks secretly recorded Gibson’s confession. With the help of the California Innocence Project, and the admission from Gibson that the accusations were false, Banks’ conviction was overturned in 2012.
Though Banks never got to play college ball, he sought to resume his football career after his conviction was overturned. He played in the now defunct United Football League (UFL) for the Las Vegas Locomotives and attended mini-camps for several NFL teams. He later signed with the Atlanta Falcons, playing in four preseason games before being released on August 30, 2013 prior to the start of the regular season.
Banks now serves as a spokesperson for the California Innocence Project.