(CBS Local)– Brian Banks was supposed to be the next great football player at USC in the early 2000s.
That all changed for Banks when he was falsely accused of raping a classmate. The Long Beach Polytechnic High School standout spent six years in prison and five years on parole before his conviction was finally overturned in 2012.
After all this, Banks ended up playing for the Atlanta Falcons and his incredible story is being told in the new movie “Brian Banks,” starring Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Morgan Freeman, and Tiffany Dupont. Dupont plays Alissa Bjerkhoel, a lawyer from the California Innocence Project who helped Banks get his conviction overturned.
“It’s one of the most incredible things I’ve gotten to be a part of so far,” said Dupont in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “He [Brian] has such a presence. I met him on set and he was on set every single day, except for the scenes in prison. He’s got a quiet power that’s so kind and so pure. He’s genuine and he can’t believe his life is what it is.”
Even after Banks got out of prison, he was forced to wear an ankle brace and couldn’t play football. While the California Innocence Project helped Banks get his life back, it took a significant amount of convincing for them to take on the case.
“She [Alissa] told me she could not believe how compelling he [Brian] was,” said Dupont. “He said I’m young, I could still have a life, I could still play football. She was the first person to hear Brian’s story and she brought it back to CIP [California Innocence Project]. She said that this guy could actually still have his dreams. This was a young guy who might be able to make everything happen for himself. He’s so special and she said to him, I’m going to do everything I can to help you.”
While Dupont has worked with many talented actors, the performance of Hodge as Banks is one of the best she’s ever seen.
“I hope Aldis gets all the opportunity and love he ever wanted from this,” said Dupont. “He’s the best. There’s a scene in the trailer when he says you want to see extraordinary, I am extraordinary. That scene, every single one of us was on the floor. We were shaking. It was such a beautiful and it was one of my favorites, if not my favorite from the movie. It’s profound.”
“Brian Banks” hits theaters on August 9.