Some stories are just too wild to believe, such is the case of Ron Stallworth, the Colorado police detective who went undercover to infiltrate the local chapter of the KKK and over 40 years later is the subject of the new Spike Lee joint, BlacKkKlansman. Premiering earlier this year to mostly rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, this Lee joint is being hailed as his best in a long time, and as it reunites him with John David Washington (son of frequent Lee leading man Denzel), plus an all-star cast, it’s one we’ve had our eye on, even before we learned that there is unsurprisingly some real horror to its inherently late night sketch-comedy sounding setup.
BlacKkKlansman acts as something of a reunion for star John David Washington and Spike Lee. Washington, son of movie star and frequent Lee collaborator, Denzel, first appeared at nine-years-old in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992). Since then, Washington has enjoyed his own career, including starring in HBO’s Ballers alongside Dwayne Johnson.
In BlacKkKlansman, Washington is joined by Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), who plays Det. Flip Zimmerman, an undercover cop at the Colorado Springs Police Department who becomes Ron’s partner in infiltrating the KKK, posing as a white Ron Stallworth at Klan gatherings. The film also stars Topher Grace (That ’70s Show, Spider-Man 3) as David Duke, the head of the KKK in the 1970s and much of the ’80s, and current unabashed supporter of President Donald Trump. Laura Harrier (Spider-Man: Homecoming) also appears as Patrice Dumas, a leader for black activism at the local university who becomes, unfortunately, a person of interest for both the police department and the KKK. The picture also stars Corey Hawkins as activist and former Black Panther Kwame Ture, Robert John Burke, Brian Tarantina, Jasper Pääkkönen, Paul Walter Hauser, and Alec Baldwin as the ominiously named Dr. Kennebrew Beauregard.
The film is produced by Lee and Jordan Peele and Jason Blum, the latter two last teaming on Get Out. The picture is written by Charles Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee.
Go ahead and feast your eyes on this bit of gonzo craziness in which John David Washington’s version of Ron Stallworth cold calls the Klan and gets initiated on the spot by just saying the most racist shit imaginable. Presumably today, this little stump speech would land him in Congress.
Once again this is based on a wonderfully true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African American officer of the Colorado Springs Police Department. In 1979 and 1980, he infiltrated the KKK after cold calling the racist organization, responding to an ad in the newspaper. Over the next nine months, he covertly monitored the Klan, sending a white undercover narcotics officer to meetings while talking with the Klan over the phone, including when he called David Duke, head of the KKK at the time, in New Orleans to check on the status of his of his membership card. (Stallworth kept it, complete with Duke’s signature, in his office for years to come.) While the story remained secret for decades, Stallworth apparently discovered several members of the U.S. military who were members of the KKK, including those assigned to NORAD. After sharing the information with the FBI, Stallworth says they were reassigned to somewhere like “the North Pole.”
Coming public with his story in 2005, Stallworth eventually published the book The Black Klansman, which paved the way for this film. The movie re-positions the story in the early ’70s and features a somehow even more explosive turn of events, including emphasis on David Duke coming to Colorado Springs to personally meet Ron Stallworth (who he assumes is white).
The official synopsis is:
Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.
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BlacKkKlansman Release Date
BlacKkKlansman opens on Aug. 10.