'Last Black Man in San Francisco' Star Jamal Trulove Opens up About Restarting Career After Wrongful Murder Conviction

The Last Black Man in San Francisco star Jamal Trulove recently opened up about restarting his career after being wrongfully convicted of murder.

Originally from the Bay Area, Trulove was on a path to stardom in the early 2000s, appearing in a few TV projects and putting out a hip-hop album.

In 2007 everything came crashing down, as Trulove was arrested for the shooting death of his friend Seu Kuka and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison in 2010.

After spending years in maximum security prisons, that conviction was later overturned in 2014 and Trulove was acquitted of the murder in a 2015 retrial.

Jamal_Close up leaning on desk_Garth Aikens
(Photo: Garth Aikens)

The following year, 2016, Trulove filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco for wrongful conviction and won the case after an Oakland jury found that police officers Maureen D'Amico and Michael Johnson had "fabricated evidence and failed to disclose exculpatory material."

Now, Trulove is seizing the opportunity to get his life and career back where he wants them, and he's starting with the critically acclaimed A24 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

The movie is a drama co-written and directed by Joe Talbot and is loosely based on the real-life experience of his friend Jimmie Fails attempting to reacquire his childhood home amid an evolving landscape of gentrification in the Golden Gate City. Fails also stars in the film.

As for how Trulove became involved with the film, he tells PopCulture.com that it was essentially part being in the right place, right time and part pure talent.

Jamal__Trulove crouching high res
(Photo: Garth Aikens)

"I was volunteering at a non-profit called United Playaz in San Francisco and Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails came in looking for some new to play extras, and Rudy Corpuz, the head ED, had let me know that they were in there. And so I went in there and introduced myself and asked if they had any roles that have been filled and if I could read," Trulove recalled.

"[I] told them my story, who I was and I ran right on the spot, and then Joe asked me to come back a couple days later to read again. And then couple days later to read again. And lo and behold I got the role," he then shared.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco boasts quite a cast, with iconic actor Danny Glover appearing, as well as Rob Morgan (Stranger Things), Tichina Arnold (Martin), Mike Epps (Next Friday), Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story), and Thora Birch (American Beauty).

Of all the stars though, Trulove says the person he had the strongest connection to was Jonathan Majors, who appeared recently in films such as White Boy Rick and Captive State.

(Photo: The Last Black Man In San Francisco / A24)

He shared that "Majors is a real life method actor, and he never jumped out of his role," and that at first it caught him off guard but eventually he grew to understand it.

"He broke role for me one time and thanked me and congratulated me for coming home and winning my case and standing up for myself and stuff like that," Trulove explained, then adding that he took "a lot of pointers from the way that he acted and a combination of way Jimmie Fails acted."

"I just built myself up to say 'I could jump into these different characters, these different lanes of acting,' and it really helped me a lot," Trulove admitted.

As far as his perception of the film, Trulove says that The Last Black Man in San Francisco is "a poetic film that speaks towards the black experience in whole and so many different demographics of it, when it comes down to masculinity and when it comes down to the passion that black people have for their culture and so forth, and history."

While doing a drama film is something he enjoyed, Trulove confesses that he wants to try other genres as well, telling PopCulture, "I want to be able to show a different side of myself. I like to believe that I'm a comedian sometimes but I think a lot of people from where I'm from they look at me just on a daily basis and be like 'Oh yeah you're a character all the time,'" then adding, "So I wanna show that I could tap into that other side of my personality."


Next up for Trulove, he's is working on a short film that he wrote and intends to direct. He also has plans to drop some new music and wants fans to know they should be on the lookout for that.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is currently playing in theaters across the U.S. and recently expanded into new areas so check your local theater listings to see if it's playing near you.