Brian Banks, the Long Beach Poly High football star who'd committed to USC before his promising athletic career was derailed five years by false rape charges, is taking his life story to the big screen.
“It's official!” Banks tweeted last week. “Ladies and gentlemen… I have a movie deal!! Producer Amy Baer (Gidden Media) has the reins. My life…”
Baer, the president and founder of Beverly Hills-based Gidden Media, most recently produced the feature film Last Vegas starring Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline.
Banks was a 16-year-old junior linebacker committed to the University of Southern California when classmate Wanetta Gibson claimed he dragged her to a Poly High stairwell and raped her.
He was convicted in 2002 and served five years and two months in prison before he was freed because Gibson recanted on her accusations. She had already won a $1.5 million settlement from the Long Beach Unified School District by then, but the LBUSD last June won a $2.6 million judgment against Gibson.
Banks, who had his conviction reversed in part thanks to the California Innocence Project, tried to get a job with several NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, whose coach Pete Carroll had previously recruited Banks for USC, and the Atlanta Falcons, who kept the inside linebacker on the roster in the 2013 preseason but cut him before the regular season began. Banks went on to play with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League before its season was suspended in October.
This is not the first time Banks has flirted with the movie business, as he launched a Kickstarter campaign two years ago to get a documentary about his life made.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.