Spike Lee has taken the story of Ron Stallworth, a former Colorado Springs detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late seventies and extracted the elements from Stallworth’s story showing how the themes he faced are still relevant today in the autobiographical film BlacKkKlansman.
The film stars John David Washington as Stallworth and features a supporting cast that includes Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins, Paul Walter Hauser, Jasper Pääkkönen, and Ryan Eggold.
The film’s star John David Washington who has Oscar-winning DNA courtesy of his two time Oscar winning father Denzel Washington, is continuing to forge his own path outside of his famous family name and spoke to The Knockturnal at the Brooklyn red carpet premiere about the challenges stepping into his first leading movie role, “All kinds of challenges, but challenges that you want as an actor. An opportunity which was sort of a first for me to have full control and really full trust from a director such as Spike Lee. He trusted me with this, and he never broke me down in any kind of way. He would strip down stuff but he never suggested any type of performances. He told me trust your instincts that’s why you’re here, and stop calling me Mr. Lee, my name is Spike. I was like yes sir Mr. Lee.”
The Knockturnal also caught up with the man in charge Mr. Spike Lee himself, speaking about how a specific scene signifies what themes the film tries to convey, “There’s a scene, I’m not gonna say what it is, but it’s a juxtaposition. We cut back and forth between truth and falsehood (lies).” Actress Ashlie Atkinson who stars as Connie Kendrickson also spoke about a particular scene which themes could resonate in today’s world, “The wildest scene as it cut together is the scene with Harry Belafonte’s speech intercut with us watching Birth of a Nation. That story is so upsetting and so upsetting and so simple and true and Mr. Belafonte was the perfect person to deliver it and he did it so simply. I was not there that day. But to hear that story and then to see the joy we take in these racist images it really just brings home the importance of the film and it’s resonance.”
The man himself Ron Stallworth said about Washington’s portrayal of him in the film, “I love what John David did, he captured me very well. I couldn’t be more happy, more proud.” “I’m very pleased by all the buzz about Oscar hype. If it got nominated for one Oscar I’d be more than happy. I’d definitely be excited and jump for joy if it won.” Stallworth added about his hopes for the success of the film.
BlacKkKlansman will be released in theaters nationwide on August 10th.