CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - FOX 46 Charlotte attended an advanced screening of the upcoming FOX TV show “Shots Fired” in Charlotte on Wednesday night.
Held at Studio Movie Grill at the Epi Center in uptown, hundreds of fans were given the opportunity to view the pilot episode and meet two of the stars, DeWanda Wise and Mack Wilds.
The show dives into the controversial topics of police shootings, race and the criminal justice system. Much of it was filmed in Charlotte, Mooresville and Kannapolis.
The plot involves a black deputy, played by Wilds, who shoots and kills an unarmed white boy in a fictional North Carolina town called Gate Station.
A black civil rights lawyer with the Department of Justice is sent to Gate Station to investigate the shooting, amidst allegations that the local sheriff’s office is corrupt.
Wise plays Shameeka Campbell, a mother in mourning who is scared into silence and intimidated after police said her black son was “found” dead, but rumors swirl that police had something to do with it.
Both actors told FOX 46 Charlotte given the climate in the United States these days, and the carnage the city of Charlotte saw during the Keith Scott riots, a show like this is needed to jumpstart the conversation.
“I’m very excited for it, I think it’s about time, I’m really impressed with FOX for taking a chance on a show like this,” Wise said.
“We’re praying this show will spark the conversation that will hopefully create the change we need,” Wilds said.
They both told FOX 46 Charlotte it was a wild experience filming the show right before the Scott riots ignited in Charlotte.
“It was really surreal, there were places where we shot riot scenes where they were rioting the week after we shot the scene,” Wise said. “To be back here in Charlotte now in the city that showed us so much love, so much hospitality and so much humility and compassion, it means a lot.”
“It was crazy, while we were shooting, literally a week or two after we finished shooting, the riots happened and it was kind of like watching what we were shooting right on television, it was scary,” Wilds said.
After the screening, Wilds and Wise held a Q&A session with the viewers who gave the pilot episode an overwhelming thumbs up.
“I thought it was amazing,” Dasharil Henderson said. “I’m very happy to see we’re highlighting Charlotte and North Carolina for that matter, I think Charlotte as a city still has a lot of pain and healing to do, and it’s great we didn’t let that conversation die.”
“It caught my eye because as a resident of Charlotte, we just recently went through something similar,” Tasha McClarrin said. “They particularly chose an African American prosecutor, I really like that, it’s a different type of scenario, it reversed the roles, it opened my eyes.”
“I feel like it’s going to have this huge impact on teens because at Crestdale (middle school) where I go to school, they’re always talking about it and it explodes in conversation, and I really think it’s going to change how teens think about this,” said Isabella Johnson.
“I think it’s gonna make a major impact, especially if they look at the film for where it is right now, there is a big opportunity where we as people can start the conversations in our homes based off what we see and take it everywhere,” said Moses Blue.
Wise told FOX 46 Charlotte she’s thrilled for the show to premiere in just one month.
“It’s gonna be a thriller,” she said. “We describe it as a who done it, and why done it? There are two murders at the heart of the story and at the end of the day it’s really great television.”
Shots Fired premiers on FOX on March 22 at 8 p.m. ET. The show consists of ten episodes and has an A-list cast that also includes Helen Hunt, Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Stephen Moyer and Richard Dreyfuss.