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Topher Grace will portray former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke in Spike Lee’s upcoming “BlackKklansman,” it was announced in CinemaCon on Wednesday.
Grace’s casting was previously announced, but it was not known he’d be playing the prominent white supremacist and former Louisiana state representative in Lee’s telling of a remarkable American story.
Footage screened for theater exhibitors was brief but classic Spike Lee — biting social commentary that is all the more shocking for being true.
John David Washington stars as real-life Colorado Springs police detective Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police officer who went undercover to infiltrate the KKK.
Stallworth was the first African American police officer hired in Colorado Springs, and the CinemaCon trailer included jaw-dropping phone call between Washington and Grace’s David Duke.
Washington’s Stallworth attempts to set a meeting with the bigoted leader by relating to him over how much he hates black people — and Jewish people, and Asian people, but most certainly African Americans.
Grace’s Duke, in his Klan robes, expresses gratitude for connecting with another white American. Except, of course, Stallworth is not white.
Adam Driver also stars as Stallworth’s partner, Flip Zimmerman, along with Laura Harrier and Topher Grace. The film’s release date coincides on the same weekend as the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist riots in Charlottesville.
Focus Features will release the film on August 10 after a world premiere at next month’s Cannes Film Festival.