Spike Lee, David Washington hope to spark conversation with 'BlacKkKlansman'

Spike Lee, David Washington hope to spark conversation with 'BlacKkKlansman'

Spike Lee is returning to the big screen in with “BlacKkKlansman,” a film based on the life of Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer in Colorado in the 1970s who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan alongside his Jewish police partner.

Lee and the film’s star, David Washington, opened up about the movie’s dense plot and how it addresses today’s political climate by tackling issues such as racial tensions, the current administration and police brutality against African-American men.

“My co-writer, Kevin Willmott, who took the job, knew that as storytellers, we had to put stuff in the film that connected to the present day, so that people would not just look at us as a period piece, a history lesson,” Lee told Fox News during the “BlacKkKlansman” press junket in New York.

This image released by Focus Features shows Adam Driver, left, and  John David Washington in a scene from "BlacKkKlansman." (David Lee/Focus Features via AP)

Adam Driver and David Washington play officers Flip Zimmerman and Ron Stallworth who trick the local KKK into an investigation.

 (Focus Features via AP)

David Washington, who is the son of actor Denzel Washington, said he was proud to play Stallworth whom he called an “American hero.”

“You’re doing the right thing, just do your job the right way,” he said of his character. “Always remind yourself why you decided to protect and serve your community, to protect and serve people like you and me — strangers, really.

“What you are doing is, unfortunately, a thankless job, that I think should be given more credit and highlighted — men and women of color doing their job on that side of the law,” Washington added,

This image released by Focus Features shows John David Washington in a scene from "BlacKkKlansman." (David Lee/Focus Features via AP)

 (Focus Features via AP)

The 35-year-old actor continued on to say that he was inspired to play Stallworth and hoped to shed light on more people in law enforcement who are like his character.

“One of the motivating factors for me was being able to play this man and put him on display,” he said. “People who are like him [should] stand up and be proud of what they are doing and know that they are making a difference.”

Lee said he hopes “BlacKkKlansman” sparks a dialogue about America’s current political climate.

Director Spike Lee poses for photographers during a photo call for the film 'BlacKkKlansman' at the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Lee said that while black cops “have it tough,” he hopes his film will create a conversation about the country’s current racial tensions.


“I respect the audience’s intelligence too much to tell them what they should think, but when they see this film, people are gonna have their opinions. One of the great things about ‘Do the Right Thing,’ when that film came out, people in the [movie theater] lobby they’d be discussing who did the right thing,” Lee said of his classic 90’s film.

He said he expects a similar reaction to “BlacKkKlansman.”

“I think that this film is gonna generate that same discussion, which I think is great ’cause we need to talk about what the F is going on today. People have to be alert, be smart, and stop going for the ‘okie doke’ because people are lying … and we have to speak truth to power.”

Lee’s “BlacKkKansman” hits theaters on Friday, Aug. 10.

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