‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ follows the story of Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. It focuses on the events that led to his assassination by the FBI in 1969. Fearing that Hampton’s charismatic figure could integrate a new social order of anti-establishment groups under the banner of racial equality, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) hatches a plan to take him down.
Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), a petty criminal, is enlisted by the FBI to infiltrate the Black Panther Party and provide details about Hampton, in lieu of walking scot-free from his criminal charges. Directed by Shaka King, the film tells an important part of American history with vociferous passion. If you are wondering whether the film was shot in the locations where the actual events took place, we have got you covered!
Judas and the Black Messiah Filming Locations
Even though the events depicted in the film occur in Chicago, Illinois, ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ was filmed across multiple locations in Cleveland, Ohio. Production began in October 2019 and continued till December 2019. Here are the specific filming details!
To recreate the 1960s Illinois in the film, Shaka King and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt scoured through five hundred photographs of Chicago shot in Kodachrome colors. The film’s shooting mostly took place in the Slavic Village and North Broadway neighborhoods, along with the several other areas around Cleveland. An important part of the film was shot at Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, which also served as the location for ‘The Shawshank Redemption.’
Apart from the Ohio State Reformatory, most of the film was shot in North Presbyterian Church (Superior Avenue.), Cleveland Public Auditorium (500 Lakeside Ave.), 3rd District Police Headquarters (2001 Payne Ave.), and St. Josaphat’s Church (1433 E. 33rd St.). The Black Panther Party’s headquarters was filmed in Zverina Building in the Broadway Avenue Historic District. The rally scene that shows Hampton stirring the crowd into a revolutionary fervor was shot at Lane Metropolitan Church (2131 E. 46th Street).
The Hampton residence interiors were filmed in a suite in Shoreway Commerce Park, while one of the houses in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood served as its exteriors. Other locations in Cleveland where ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ was filmed include the Croatian Tavern at 3244 St. Clair Avenue, The Jednota Building (Slovak Catholic Credit Union), Azman & Sons Butcher at 6501 St. Clair Avenue, and The Nash at 3563 E. 80th Street.
Some other establishments like Thoroughbreds Barber, 11109 Ashbury Avenue, White Oaks Restaurant, Westlake, and the Carrie Cerino’s Restaurant, North Royalton are also featured in the film. Before the filming process began, Shaka King, Daniel Kaluuya, and LaKeith Stanfield went to real locations where Fred Hampton’s gathering and public speeches took place.
According to Page Six, Kaluuya remarked that he didn’t remember filming the scenes as he was so engrossed within his role of rousing the crowd. Moreover, the Greater Cleveland Film Commission aided in scouting the locations to recreate the iconic scenes and provided some tax incentives, which eased the production process. During the post-production process in early 2020, most of the crew members had to work remotely owing to the restrictions put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Read More: Best Movies About Racism