With director Destin Daniel Cretton’s adaptation of Bryan Stevenson’s memoir Just Mercy now playing in limited release, I recently sat down with Tim Blake Nelson and Rob Morgan to talk about the film. If you’re not familiar with Stevenson’s incredible story, he studied law at Harvard University and after graduating moved to Alabama to defend people who had been convicted without proper representation. One of his first cases was Walter McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx), who was an innocent man condemned to death for the killing of an 18-year-old girl. Just Mercy also stars Brie Larson, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Rafe Spall, and Karan Kendrick.
During the interview, Nelson and Morgan talked about how films like Just Mercy are tough to get made, why the film can hopefully shine a light on our criminal justice system, and more. In addition, Nelson talked about being part of Watchmen and if he knew it would be such a special series when he signed on.
Finally, if you’d like to help support the Equal Justice Initiative that Stevenson founded in 1989, click here for the website. The organization is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S., challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
I know you have a lot of choices at the movie theater, but Just Mercy is one of those special films that I can’t recommend enough. Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.
Tim Blake Nelson and Rob Morgan:
- Did Tim have any idea when he signed on to do Watchmen that it would be this good?
- How films like Just Mercy are hard to get made.
- How films like this can hopefully shine a light on our criminal justice system.
Here’s the Just Mercy official synopsis:
A powerful and thought-provoking true story, Just Mercy follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.