Tipped as an Os­car con­tender

Cop’s rad­i­cal Idea to go clan­des­tine pays off

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - LIFE -

IT’S A story that would be im­pos­si­ble, ex­cept it is true.

An African-Amer­i­can po­lice of­fi­cer man­ages to in­fil­trate and ex­pose a branch of the Ku Klux Klan. BlacK­kKlans­man,

di­rec­tor Spike Lee’s lat­est film brings the story of Ron Stall­worth to life with a few em­bel­lish­ments.

Set in the early 1970s, the crime drama fol­lows Ron Stall­worth (John David Wash­ing­ton), the first African-Amer­i­can de­tec­tive to serve in the Colorado Springs Po­lice De­part­ment.

De­ter­mined to make a name for him­self, Stall­worth sets out on a mis­sion: in­fil­trate and ex­pose the KKK.

Pos­ing as a racist ex­trem­ist, Stall­worth contacts the group and finds him­self in­vited into its in­ner cir­cle.

He even cul­ti­vates a re­la­tion­ship with the Klan’s Grand Wiz­ard, David Duke (To­pher Grace). With the un­der­cover in­ves­ti­ga­tion grow­ing ever more com­plex, Stall­worth’s col­league Flip Zim­mer­man (Adam Driver) poses as Ron in face-to-face meet­ings with mem­bers of

the hate group, gain­ing in­sider’s knowl­edge of a deadly plot.

Stall­worth and Zim­mer­man team up to take down the or­gan­i­sa­tion, which aims to sani­tise its vi­o­lent rhetoric to ap­peal to the main­stream.

Get Out di­rec­tor Jor­dan Peele brought Stall­worth’s mem­oir to Lee’s at­ten­tion, and he and Get Out pro­ducer Ja­son Blum serve as co-pro­duc­ers on the film, which has Os­car buzz.

Lee cast John David Wash­ing­ton, son of Os­car win­ner Den­zel Wash­ing­ton, in the lead role with­out an au­di­tion. As a child, Wash­ing­ton had a small role in Lee’s Mal­colm X, but didn’t make his adult act­ing de­but un­til land­ing a role in TV se­ries Ballers.

“I told him I knew him be­fore he was born. We’re fam­ily,” Lee tells the San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle.

Wash­ing­ton told CNN his grid­iron ca­reer helped to pre­pare him for his sec­ond ca­reer on the screen.

“The con­cept of team play truly gives you a chance to win or suc­ceed in truth, telling like it did on the field,” he said. “Sched­ul­ing, your con­cen­tra­tion, your dis­ci­pline, all of that, to me, is a di­rect re­sult of foot­ball and how I ap­ply it to my work now.”

BlacK­kKlans­man ends with real-life footage of last year’s Unite the Right rally in Char­lottesvill­e, Vir­ginia. US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was crit­i­cised for his re­marks on the event, which some in­ter­preted as sym­pa­thetic to white su­prem­a­cists.

Lee says his film is not di­rectly aimed at the con­tro­ver­sial leader, al­though he hopes he takes no­tice.

“I don’t ap­proach my films by say­ing who’s the tar­get. I use the word ‘story’ in­stead of ‘tar­get’. There has to be a story,” Lee tells the San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle.

“Just the premise of this film is high con­cept. A black man in­fil­trates the Ku Klux Klan. That’s all you’ve got to say.”

PHOTO: DAVID LEE

SEE IT: Adam Driver and John David Wash­ing­ton in a scene from the movie. Sup­plied by Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures.

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