'Judas and the Black Messiah': Who is William O'Neal?

The trailer for the highly anticipated Fred Hampton biopic Judas and the Black Messiah was released this morning, to much excitement.

Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya takes on the role of Black Panther revolutionary Fred Hampton who was assassinated by the FBI when he was 21-years-old.

Kaluuya stars opposite Lakeith Stanfield who takes on the role of the 'Judas' in the title, as FBI informant William O'Neal—but who is he?

O'Neal was a petty criminal who was coerced by the FBI into helping them silence Hampton and the Black Panther Party.

Hampton was killed on December 4, 1969, during an FBI raid of his home. Earlier that night, he was slipped a barbiturate by O'Neal who was the head of security for the Black Panthers chapter in Chicago, at the same time Hampton was serving as chairman of the Illinois chapter.

O'Neal provided law enforcement a floor plan of the Chicago apartment where Hampton was assassinated in 1969.

Judas and the Black Messiah
Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield in "Judas and the Black Messiah." Warner Bros

"I play a character that's a part of those, that body, that government arm which reached down and picked up a kid who didn't know what he was doing and made him kill his brother," Stanfield said of his character," Stanfield said an interview with NowThis Entertainment.

"It was really tough for me to do that and I went through a whole bunch of emotional changes and realized that, at the end of the day, hopefully, people will connect to a larger idea and the larger love given by Fred Hampton," he added.

O'Neal was placed in federal witness protection after his role in the infamous raid was revealed. He reportedly died by suicide in 1990, aged 40.

The synopsis from Warner Bros for Judas and the Black Messiah reads: "Chairman Fred was inspiring a generation to rise up and not back down to oppression, which put him directly in the line of fire of the government, the FBI and the Chicago Police. But to destroy the revolution, they had to do it from both the outside...and the inside. Facing prison, William O'Neal is offered a deal by the FBI: if he will infiltrate the Black Panthers and provide intel on Hampton, he will walk free. O'Neal takes the deal.

"Now a comrade in arms in the Black Panther Party, O'Neal lives in fear that his treachery will be discovered even as he rises in the ranks. But as Hampton's fiery message draws him in, O'Neal cannot escape the deadly trajectory of his ultimate betrayal."

"It was one of the hardest roles I've ever had to do," Stanfield said of his portrayal of O'Neal.

The ensemble cast also includes Algee Smith (The Hate U Give, Detroit), Darrell Britt-Gibson (Just Mercy, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Dominique Thorne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Amari Cheatom (Roman J. Israel, Esq., Django Unchained), Caleb Eberhardt (The Post), and Lil Rel Howery (Get Out).

Judas and the Black Messiah is due for release in 2021.