With awards season ramping up, Annapurna now has a re-release Kathryn Bigelow‘s “Detroit” in select theaters starting this week. The film recounts the 1967 Detroit riots, centering on the murders of three black men during an all-night police raid at the Algiers Hotel. Gold Derby recently chatted with stars John Boyega and Will Poulter, plus songwriter Questlove, about their work on the searing true-life docudrama.
“Unfortunately, it’s been 50 years since those events, but we’re still having the same conversations,” divulges Boyega, “and it’s just as sensitive as it was back then.” He stars as Melvin Dismukes, a security guard caught in the middle of the horrific event. The actor spoke with the real Dismukes for research: “Just getting to know him at first, getting to know the kind of man that he is, and at the same time, just getting to know him as it relates to this specific event.”
Poulter costars as Krauss, an aggressively racist policeman who terrorizes the motel patrons. “I didn’t want to pull any punches,” he reveals. The actor felt “responsible for exposing this kind of individual,” who is “a product of entrenched racism… it’s a terrifyingly ignorant-thought structure that informs everything that he does, and the way that he conducts himself.”
When Bigelow first contacted Questlove from The Roots about penning the original song “It Ain’t Fair,” he recalls she wanted him to “process it [the film] for 48 hours” before deciding whether or not to participate. “For me, personally, you can’t help but internalize the fear and pain of watching that 45-minute torture scene,” he states, adding, “That scenario is literally my worst nightmare.”
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