LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — The red carpet was rolled out in Long Beach Wednesday evening for the premiere of “Brian Banks” — the true story of the NFL hopeful who was wrongfully accused of rape.
The movie debuts in Long Beach because that it where Banks is from.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Chris Holmstrom said Banks was joined on the red carpet by friends, family and CBS2’s Randy Paige for a special screening.
“Brian Banks” is the true story of the then 16-year-old teen who in 2002 was accused of raping a high school classmate just before he was set to enroll at USC on a football scholarship.
Banks spent five years in prison and another four on probation.
In 2011, in a hidden camera interview, the student who claimed Banks raped her said she made the whole thing up.
The California Innocence Project took on his case, and that story has now been made into the full-length movie.
“This has been a project in the works since 2012,” Banks said this evening. “So to finally be in this moment is surreal.”
The origins of the movie date back to Paige, who first told Banks’ story.
“His work was so instrumental into the outcome of my story,” Banks says, “and me being able to get my freedom back, us making the decision to go public and putting my story out there to the world for people to make their own judgment.”
Paige thought he was just telling a compelling story.
“The thing about this movie,” Paige says, “it’s not just a story of innocence. It’s also a story about a man who had incredible tenacity and belief in himself and willing to get to his ultimate dream under unbelievable circumstances.”
The movie was directed by Tom Shadyac who is known for “Patch Adams” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”
“It’s not just a story about a person who was put in prison,” says Shadyac, “but the prisons that we all face and how to face that darkness with positivity and perseverance.”
That’s precisely what Banks did. Since being exonerated, he played one preseason game with the Atlanta Falcons.
He wrote a book about his story and is now advocating for other people who have been wrongly-convicted — what he says the movie is all about.
The movie opens nationwide on Aug. 9.