“It just felt like we were at home, and then things started getting real,” says “Detroit” cast member Peyton Alex Smith about filming the tense new docudrama, which opens August 7. Annapurna Pictures has released a new featurette in which director Kathryn Bigelow and cast members including Smith and John Boyega discuss the making of the unsettling true story. Watch it above, and check out the complete trailer here.
“Detroit” tells the story of the Algiers Motel incident that took place during the riot in the title city in 1967. On the night of July 25-26, almost exactly 50 years before the film’s scheduled release, three black men were killed and several others were injured by a riot task force that included city and state police and National Guardsmen. No officers were convicted, a fact that should still resonate in the era of Black Lives Matter and in the wake of incidents like Philando Castile‘s shooting death during a routine traffic stop, for which the officer who killed him was acquitted.
Bigelow is used to handling hot-button subject matter. Her 2009 film “The Hurt Locker” dealt with soldiers in the Iraq War and made her the first and only woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director. She followed that up in 2012 with “Zero Dark Thirty,” which was met with controversy over its depiction of torture in the search for Osama Bin Laden. It was nominated for Best Picture, but Bigelow was snubbed for Best Director.
“I was determined to cast the most extraordinary talents out there,” the director explains about casting “Detroit.” “All these actors possessed a kind of depth in their portrayals.” In addition to Smith and Boyega, who had a recent career breakthrough with his leading role in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015), the cast includes Jacob Latimore, Malcolm David Kelley, Nathan Davis Jr., Joseph David-Jones, Algee Smith, Will Poulter, “Hurt Locker” star Anthony Mackie, John Krasinski and Samira Wiley, among others.