The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty director, Kathryn Bigelow will next week see the release of her much anticipated movie, Detroit, which stars British talent in the forms of Star Wars John Boyega, Will Poulter and Jack Reynor embroiled in a bitter racial stand-off in the midst of America in 1967, finally released in cinemas across the UK.
Based on a true story, the dramatic thriller, DETROIT is another vivid and all-too-relevant in our current social climate, exploration of America’s recent past. The film focuses on the events that transpired one terrifying evening during the civil unrest that tore apart the city of Detroit, and its traumatic aftermath.
Flavourmag attended the London Press Conference for the film which was attended by Bigelow herself, alongside John Boyega, Will Poulter, Hannah Murray and Jack Reynor.
Bigelow stated that this film was in no way made for entertainment purposes and felt herself, alongside the cast, had a duty to respectfully tell the story of what happened on that horrific night in Detroit.
“I never thought about it as entertainment, it’s more a dramatisation of true events, the script for the large part is completely re-recorded based on research, court documents, and testimonies. The character that John Boyega plays Melvin Dismukes and the character that Hannah plays were actually people that we met with. Julie (Hysell) was actually on set with me every single day, so they were hugely responsible for how the story unfolded. We all felt a certain responsibility to be as faithful the research and facts as we could”
She went on to say that the fact it wasn’t a well-known incident and extremely contemporary had inspired her to bring the story to life.
With the subject matter not being the easiest to deal with for most actors, it wasn’t an easy issue to portray. Jack Reynor stated that it was down to the level of trust and understanding amongst the cast that made it an easier journey.
“One of the most important elements of production was we all developed a strong bond with one another, and a trusting bond with one another which made it indelible clear we all wanted to be part of one kind of community making a statement on this issue, that was really key in the process just the level of trust and understanding, whereby we could allow ourselves to go to places and be brought to places we would never normally go or want to go”.
In the film, John Boyega plays Melvin Dismukes, a security guard who plays a passive part in trying to keep the peace amongst both the young African-Americans being victimised and the vile racist police handing out unnecessary punishment. Boyega stated on the importance of tackling injustice head on.
“I think for me it’s an ongoing process, a process that requires a lot of commitment, a lot of research into the facts. I felt like if you don’t have the truth if doesn’t necessarily give you the right to say if the intentions aren’t right, especially with this, Melvin was in a hard situation because he was trying to balance two worlds, two opinions and that can be somewhat tricky. Also for him, we discussed many things, one of the things that stood out to me was that he had to move out of Detroit for a while because of the circumstances being labelled an Uncle Tom and all those things are harmful but at the same time is a hard line to tread. For me, I’ve kind of questioned that in myself. There are things that go on that I am very passionate about but there is a strategic way that can guarantee a more positive outcome rather than just being instant and unforgiving about it“.
Will Poulter certainly comes of age in his performance in Detroit and gives such an emotive portrayal of the lead racist cop responsible for so much discrimination and hatred, a performance in which you simply want to give him a real punch in the face – Poulter went on to describe how exactly he immersed into a role which he had no vested interest in or connection with.
“I relied heavily on Kathryn on that respect, someone who in the presence of chaotic and for very many people kind of overwhelming action maintains a calm levelled headed composure. The fact I was generally friends with everybody in the cast, who had those pre fixed bond of trusts and respect helped massively. Again I think the sense of purpose that came with this film also motivates you through those harder moments. The psychology of that character and inhabiting it was very uncomfortable, but I think that something I was constantly reminding myself of was that whatever I am experiencing in a way of difficulty or anytime I was feeling emotional that would have paled in comparison to what the recipients abuse or experiencing and again whatever we are going through as actors doesn’t even measure up for a moment to what the real individuals we were representing must have suffered. That was something we were constantly mindful of”.
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, Detroit stars John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, Hannah Murray, Jack Reynor, Kaitlyn Dever and Algee Smith.
Detroit is released in cinemas August 25.