See Adam Driver & John David Washington in first pic for BlacKkKlansman

Last week at CinemaCon, Blumhouse shared the first footage from Spike Lee's BLACKKKLANSMAN with an eager crowd. In the scene, John David Washington (as Ron Stallworth) let loose a vehemently racist, misogynist, homophobic tirade while taking a phone call with David Duke (played by Topher Grace). The vitriol is meant to serve as Washington's way of coaxing the then-Grand Wizard of the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan over to his side. It's an appalling rant to be certain, but do you know what? It won Duke's ear. Thus, Stallworth's plan to infiltrate the KKK continued.

Directed by Spike Lee (DO THE RIGHT THING, MALCOM X), BLACKKKLANSMAN centers on  the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Ron Stallworth, and his quest to not only successfully infiltrate the KKK organization but to head its local chapter.

A new still from the film has been released (courtesy of Entertainment Weekly), which features Washington’s Stallworth giving his fellow officer, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), who poses as Stallworth’s “white self” to meet with Duke and KKK members in the flesh, his KKK membership card.

“[Ron] still has his Klu Klux Klan membership card to this day,” Washington told EW, when speaking about how the real Stallworth visited the set during the making of the film, to share his experience and stories with the cast and crew. “He passed the card around for us to see and feel and it kind of just brought truth to everything he said, a validation,” Washington added.

As part of EW's coverage, Washington was asked a series of questions about the upcoming release, including what it was like to witness Topher Grace's transformation into the vile David Duke.

When asked about what Stallworth is like in real life, Washington said: He’s an amazing person. He’s always about the job. It was never emotional for him. He never thought of it in that way of “taking down the man.” He was [inspired] by the idea of no violent crimes or terrorist acts in Colorado Springs during his investigation, and he successfully accomplished that.

Washington then spoke about what he felt were barbaric aspects of Stallworth's story: To me, the most outrageous part is that it’s factual, that this happened. That’s why it’s so…everything in it, you’ll see, how extreme and eye-opening and surprising the events that happened are, but…what tops it off [for] me, what makes it all come together, is that this really happened. This is American history. It’s unbelievable that this story is true, and whether you connect with the film or not, to come into this information is still mind-blowing.

Next, Washington spoke about the ways with which BLACKKKLANSMAN reflects the racial tension in today's society: The film is a period piece but the subject matter is very familiar. It has a contemporary rhythm to it, given the dialogue and the subject matter. It’s almost like now we can see how far we’ve come, and this film can maybe help us gauge how the progress is coming along in this country. Are we doing any better, are we opening up conversations, can we have people with different opinions still communicate? That’s what I’m hoping for, too, after seeing this film. We’ve got to start somewhere.

Next, Washington commented on Topher Grace's performance as David Duke: Oh my goodness, what a performance. Topher and Corey [Hawkins as civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael], their characters kind of anchor or bookmark the history of this country in this film. We’re talking about two opposite thinkers, but they give more truth to…or more of a realization of how dangerous this was and how true this story really is.

Lastly, Washington talked about creating a unique synergy with Adam Driver, who plays 'white Ron' in the film: He is the man. He’s crazy talented, obviously, but his work ethic is what I admire the most. You can’t lie when you’re on set, you can’t lie when you’re in a scene with him because he’ll draw it out. You’ll feel, “Okay, that wasn’t honest.” He makes you be present and honest the entire time you’re with him and he made it very easy, very natural to play off of him and I feel like it shows in the film. His character, he might even [be taking] more of a risk than Ron in so many ways.

For the full interview with John David Washington and more about Spike Lee's BLACKKKLANSMAN, head over to Entertainment Weekly.

BLACKKKLANSMAN will arrive in theaters August 10th.



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