Boyega plays the former lance corporal, who was denied support from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2017. To make ends meet, Brown-Easley decides to take matters into his own hands and hold an Atlanta bank hostage. As the frustrated veteran continuously apologizes to the bank staff, he continues to threaten them with a bomb.
According to Easley’s real-life story, Brown-Easley didn’t hold everyone hostage and told the Atlanta Police Department that he never had intentions of robbing the bank in the first place. He simply wanted $892 that was owed to him by Veterans Affairs. In the movie’s new trailer, Boyega does an exceptional job of bringing it to life.
“I was shocked that I hadn’t heard of what happened to Brian and I was moved by his story and the drama of the circumstance,” Boyega spoke on his connection to the role. “There’s definitely an emotional weight playing somebody that has existed who has had to live a tragedy in order for you to play him. The story is really [about] the isolation and betrayal that comes with serving your country and then coming back home to no opportunity or true help.”
Distributed by Bleecker Street, the film’s original title was 892 but was later changed to Breaking ahead of its 2022 Sundance Film Festival premiere.
Director Abi Damaris Corbin–who also co-wrote the script with Kwame Kwei-Armah–spoke about her inspiration behind the film. “It broke my heart,” Corbin told The Los Angeles Times, recalling her own father’s experience in the “broken system” for veterans in the U.S. “I saw in it a reflection of my dad’s story. He’s gone through a lot of the struggles with the VA that are threaded through Brian’s story and I knew that story had to be told.”
The ensemble cast also includes Nicole Beharie, Olivia Washington, and Selenis Leyva. The late Michael K. Williams also plays the role of an officer determined to talk Brown-Easley out of the situation, as his character shares a similar story.
“I’m really glad I got the chance to work with him [Michael K. Williams], especially in his last days, and see his artistry,” expressed Boyega. “[He was] very positive on set. A good, bubbly guy. And at the same time just effortless with his humility.”
The film is produced by Ashley Levinson, Salman Al-Rashid, Sam Frohman, Kevin Turen, and Mackenzie Fargo. Boyega serves as one of the executive producers. Breaking premieres in theaters on August 26.
Check out the trailer above.