For those of you who don’t know, Baltimore has a storied tradition of dirt bike riding on city streets. A polarizing subject among Baltimore residents, the contentious subculture was explored in depth in Lofty Nathan’s 2013 documentary 12 O’Clock Boys, which followed a young boy as he strove to become one of the eponymous 12 O’Clock Boys, a locally revered crew of riders. The documentary caused a splash at South by Southwest, catching the eye of Moonlight director and Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins.
Charm City Kings is a dramatic adaptation of 12 O’Clock Boys based on a story by Jenkins, who is responsible for the early drafts of the script. The film follows Mouse, a young boy aspiring to become part of the Midnight Clique crew of riders. Mouse looks up to their leader Blax as a living legend, who is aptly played by Meek Mill in his first feature film role.
Meek, an avid dirt bike rider and enthusiast, was controversially arrested in 2017 for riding on the streets of Manhattan, adding a layer of authenticity to his onscreen role. Considering the acclaim the film has been garnering at the Sundance Film Festival, it’s very likely that this will not be the last time we see Meek on the silver screen.
Check out the trailer for Charm City Kings below, which is set to release on October 8 on HBO Max.