Coogler was home for New Year's in 2009 when a transit cop wrongfully shot Grant at a nearby train station—in front of dozens of horrified onlookers. As details came to light, his death made national news and sparked protests and riots throughout the Bay Area. "I was the same age as Oscar," says Coogler, then a film student at USC. "I felt like I had to tell his story so something similar wouldn't happen again."
Starring Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer, the powerful drama, in theaters now, documents the final 24 hours of Grant's life, an ordinary day with an extraordinarily tragic end. To write the script, Coogler carefully sifted through depositions and public records of eyewitness accounts and spent time with Grant's family and friends. "The movie's compressed timeline brings you close to Oscar," he says. "I wanted the audience to just spend the day with him."
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