Ron Stallworth, an African-American cop who successfully infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the '70s, has one of the most fascinating life stories. A film has been rumored for decades, with Denzel Washington pegged for the lead role. But now it's 2018, and his son John David Washington (HBO's Ballers) has filled those shoes, with Spike Lee stepping behind the camera, and Jordan Peele (Get Out) producing. It's a perfect match of project and filmmakers.
The first trailer wastes no time dropping the hammer, as Stallworth calls up David Duke (played by Topher Grace, in a genius bit of casting) and immediately launches into a faux-racist tirade to gain his trust. Stallworth brings in his Jewish partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to play Stallworth at KKK meetings to learn about attacks the hate group is planning.
BlackkKlansman (styled with an extra 'k' in the middle) premiered at Cannes this week to mixed reviews. But that's to be expected with a filmmaker as potent but inconsistent as Spike Lee, who most recently made the messy but brilliant Lysistrata-in-Chicago Chi-Raq and has had much more success with documentaries as of late. But with its (sadly) timely subject matter, the film might be Lee's biggest hit since Inside Man.
Black Klansman hits theaters Friday, August 10.