The decision comes amid protests breaking out across the country in honor of George Floyd, an unarmed black man that died in police custody. Thousands of people have rallied together to take a stand against police brutality since then at protests held in most major cities and even in other countries.
Just Mercy is based on the nonfiction book of the same name written by social activist and attorney Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.
The main story follows the wrongful conviction of a black man named Walter “Johnny D” McMillian — played by Jamie Foxx, who was nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for his performance. He was wrongfully accused of killing a white woman named Ronda Morrison in Alabama. Michael B. Jordan plays Stevenson, who becomes McMillian’s lawyer and works hard to prove his innocence.
McMillian was sentenced to the death penalty despite the prosecution having no real evidence against him. The entire basis of their case was based on a fabricated testimony from convicted felon Ralph Myers (Tim Blake Nelson), who was coerced by the police into lying on the witness stand.
The movie also stars Brie Larson, Rafe Spall, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Rob Morgan. Destin Daniel Cretton directed the 2019 flick.
Warner Bros. released an official statement on the film, saying they believed in “the power of story.”
“For the month of June, ‘Just Mercy’ will be available to rent for free across digital platforms in the U.S. To actively be part of the change our country is so desperately seeking, we encourage you to learn more about our past and the countless injustices that have led us to where we are today.”
The company also expressed its gratitude to the many individuals who helped make the film happen and encouraged people to learn more about Stevenson and his work at the EJI.
The official statement was shared on the Just Mercy Twitter account alongside the movie poster.
Before Just Mercy was released in theaters, Entertainment Weekly spoke with Jordan and Foxx.
Foxx recalled dealing with racism while he was growing up.
“Being black is the greatest — and sometimes the most difficult. Just being born, somebody hates me for that,” said the actor.
The outlet stated that both actors “hoped that viewers would walk away from the film with a desire to join the fight in their own way.”