Nnamdi Asomugha and Lakeith Stanfield at the New York Edition hotel in New York. (MMoore Photo)

Crown Heights” cast members Lakeith Stanfield (Colin Warner) and Nnamdi Asomugha (Carl King) relived the nightmares their characters endured during filming. Directed by Matt Ruskin, the film is based on real life victim Warner, who spent 21 years in prison for a murder he did not commit and good friend King, who worked arduously on his release.

“We lived through a piece of their story in the film,” Asomugha told me recently at the New York Edition hotel. “And to envision that feeling of being separated for 21 years, communicating mostly through letters–we only saw each other when we had scenes together–so we relied on exchanging letters to recreate that dynamic.” Prison was also part of that reality. “Keith (LaKeith) spent a lot of time in prison preparing for the role,” Asomugha explained, “and I spent a lot of time going through legal papers and work like that.”

Stanfield had to relive Colin’s incarceration by spending a lot of time behind bars. After mentioning some of the verbal attacks from prisoners Colin had to endure on his way inside the jail Keith said, “It just gave me that feel of like, ‘Oh sh!t, I’m crossing into prison life.’ That must have been what it was like for Collin actually, having beef in there. I immediately got this sense that I needed to adopt a disposition and let them know I wasn’t afraid of them. You know what I mean? So I imagined what it must have been like for him.”

Nnamdi Asomugha as Carl King in ‘Crown Heights.’

Stansfield can be seen in “Selma,” “Get Out,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “Atlanta,” and “War Machine.” Actor/producer/philanthropist and former All-Pro NFL Player Asomugha, who is married to Kerry Washington, has appeared in “Friday Night Lights,” and in addition to being a producer for “Crown Heights,” he is a producer for “Beasts of No Nation,” “Waiting for Hassana,” a documentary short film about the 2014 abduction of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram, and helped finance “Patti Cake$.”

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