‘The Meg’ chomps $44.5M, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ opens strong at box office

Adding to Hollywood’s sizzling summer, the shark thriller “The Meg” opened well above expectations with an estimated $ 44.5 million in ticket sales, while Spike Lee had his best debut in a decade.

“The Meg” had been forecast by some analysts for closer to half that total. An American-Chinese co-production…

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Watch ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Exclusive Spot

Watch 'BlacKkKlansman' Exclusive Spot

Spike Lee's new film BlacKkKlansman made a sensational debut at the Cannes Film Festival and will soon be exploding into theaters across the country. What can we expect from the timely drama, based on a true story?

Our exclusive spot teases the setup, as African-American police officer Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) infiltrates the local Ku Klux Klan with the aid of a fellow officer (Adam Driver). Laura Harrier and Topher Grace also star.

Watch the dynamic spot below and…

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Spike Lee’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is set in the 1970s, but it still feels ‘very relevant’ for Ron Stallworth

The events depicted in Spike Lee’s new movie “BlacKkKlansman” took place four decades ago, yet the film feels relevant as ever.

That’s because the crime drama — based on the real-life story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American detective who successfully infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late…

/entertainment – New York Daily News

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Spike Lee: ‘BlacKKKlansman Should Be Shown in the White House’ [Video]

If it was up to legendary filmmaker Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman, his latest film to date, would be screened in Donald Trump’s executive mansion.

The new film takes place in the 1970s and is based on the real-life experiences of Ron Stallworth, the first African American detective to join the Colorado Springs police force. In addition to facing a number of racial barriers, Stallworth managed to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan as an undercover and befriend former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke through a series of phone conversations. To complete the operation, Stallworth worked with his partner, a Jewish cop played by Adam Driver in the movie, who pretends to be him at KKK meetings.

Like many Spike Lee joints, the overarching theme of BlacKkKlansman underscores the prevalence of racism and the ongoing fight for racial equality. It opens with scenes from Birth of A Nation, a notorious silent picture released in 1915 that glorified the Klan and demonized black men. The controversial drama has been deemed a classic American film and was even screened for then-President Woodrow Wilson along with members of Congress and the Supreme Court.

Birth of a Nation was shown in the White House. Woodrow Wilson saw it and he said it was like ‘writing history with lightning,’” Lee told Black Enterprise. “I think BlacKkKlansman should be shown in the White House—and make sure you put Jeff Sessions in the front row because there are certain things that people are wearing [in the film] that he might be in possession of!” Lee joked, apparently making a reference to the robes worn by Klansmen.

Blackkklansman John David Washington

(Courtesy of Focus)

Telling A Part of History

The context of the movie is so surreal that Lee admitted that he had a hard time believing it was true, himself. In fact, when BlacKkKlansman producer Jordan Peele told him about the story, Lee initially thought about Dave Chappelle’s popular black KKK member sketch. Nonetheless, he pounced on the opportunity to create a film about a remarkable piece of American history that few Americans know about.

To tell the story, Lee cast John David Washington, the son of Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, for the lead role as Stallworth. “I just knew he could do it. I just offered him the part. He didn’t have to do a read for it. He didn’t have to do a tape [or] audition,” said the movie director. “I know talent when I see it. Many people have got their first roles in my films over the last 30 years,” he said, noting Halle Berry and Rosie Perez.

Washington, who graduated from an HBCU, says that he, too, was surprised when Lee told him about Stallworth’s story. “I went to Morehouse, class of ’06, so I learned a lot about my culture and our history [but] this one kind of slipped through the cracks,” he said.

The 32-year-old actor added that working on the film changed his perspective about police, especially those of color, and he hopes it will change how they are viewed by society as well. “I had no idea what it was like to be an African American cop and I’m hoping people will get the chance to see what it’s like with this film,” said the star of HBO’s Ballers. “We need to start celebrating more men and women that look like us that are police and are doing their job correctly. It’s a thankless job.” When asked if he felt anxious or excited for his father to see the movie, he cooly responded, “I hope he likes it.”

“Wake Up!”

BlacKkKlansman takes several jabs at President Trump and ends with a powerful scene that suggests that race relations in the U.S. are getting worse. It also includes a handful of scenes with the words “wake up,” a signature expression in Lee’s work.

“My most famous phrase for all my films is ‘wake up.’ School Days—that film came out in 1988—ends with Laurence Fishburne saying ‘wake up.’  Do the Right Thing (1989) begins with Samuel L. Jackson saying ‘wake up,’” he proclaimed. The term “woke—that’s that new sh-t. We were saying ‘wake up’ in ’88!”

 

BlacKkKlansman will be released in theaters Aug. 10, 2018.

The post Spike Lee: ‘BlacKKKlansman Should Be Shown in the White House’ [Video] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Jordan Peele Joins Forces with Spike Lee for ‘BlacKkKlansman’ (TRAILER)

blackkklansman

Academy Award-winning director Jordan Peele was enlisted to be the producer on BlacKkKlansman, a forthcoming Spike Lee joint. It is a ’70s-set feature about a Black detective infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan starring John David Washington, Adam Driver and Topher Grace. The script was written by Lee, Kevin Willmott, Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz, and it is based […]

The post Jordan Peele Joins Forces with Spike Lee for ‘BlacKkKlansman’ (TRAILER) appeared first on EBONY.

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Tragedy Forced Spike Lee To Rewrite ‘BlacKkKlansman’

(Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

CANNES, France (AP) — Spike Lee is holding court on the sunbaked rooftop terrace of the Cannes Film Festival hub, the Palais des Festivals, doing his best Peter O’Toole impression.

A passionate cinephile, Lee’s likes to punctuate his points with movie references or classic stand-up lines or sports metaphors. When it’s suggested to him that his furious statement on race in Donald Trump’s America, “BlacKkKlansman,” has rocked Cannes like nothing else at this year’s festival, he smiles.

“Did you ever see one of the greatest films that was ever made? David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’” says Lee before raising his voice to a sonorous battle cry.

“Taaaaaake nooooo prisoners!”

For even a filmmaker who has seldom pulled punches when it comes to straight taking — what he would call “da truth, Ruth” — “BlacKkKlansman” is a haymaker. The film, which is in competition for Cannes’ Palme d’Or, is the true-life tale of an African-American police detective Ron Stallworth (played in the film by John David Washington, son of Denzel), who in 1979 infiltrated a Colorado Springs, Colorado, cell of the Ku Klux Klan.

Introduced to the project by producer Jordan Peele (“Get Out”), Lee made what he knew would be a commentary on race in America. Then, during a summer weekend in Martha’s Vineyard, he saw his film run directly up to present day. On the TV was news of the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent in clashes with counter-protesters. Anti-racism activist Heather Heyer was run over and killed.

Former KKK leader David Duke, who’s played by Topher Grace in “BlacKkKlansman,” was part of the rally. After it, President Donald Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence. For Lee, it was a “defining moment” for Trump and the United States. (In a press conference in Cannes on Tuesday, he blasted the president in a passionate, expletive-filled monologue.)

Lee decided to end “BlacKkKlansman” with footage from Charlottesville (he sought and received permission from Heyer’s mother) and of Trump’s speech. The film concludes with the image of an upside-down black-and-white American flag.

“Those terrorist groups wrote themselves into the film,” Lee said in an interview. “The real-life David Duke wrote himself into the film. The president of the United States wrote himself into the film. They gave us an ending we’re not good enough to write.”

Focus Features will release the film in August on the anniversary of Charlottesville.

“Take the past and make it present was the real approach Spike and I wanted to take with it,” says co-writer Kevin Willmott. “And unfortunately, the events of today just presented themselves. They’ve taken the past and brought it back to the present.”

Many in the cast were surprised by the film’s unscripted conclusion. Asked when he found out, Washington replies: “Uh, when I saw it. And it messed me up. I was emotional. I was fighting (tears) back.”

Washington has known Lee since his father, one of Lee’s favorite leading men, made “Malcolm X” with him and the younger Washington had a small role. But as to the first time they met, Lee lights up and mimics cradling a baby. “BlacKkKlansman” is a breakthrough for the 33-year-old Washington, a former professional football player.

The cast is filled with what Lee calls “new blood” — actors he hasn’t worked with before. Among them is Adam Driver, who plays Stallworth’s Jewish partner. Driver calls Lee’s revision “a testament to his movies’ unpredictability.”

“And it’s like how he directs on set — following your impulses. He’s worked with most of the same crew members since ‘Do the Right Thing,’” Driver said. “That’s what I like about his movies. They’re filled with an energy that you never know what’s going to happen.”

“BlacKkKlansman” is also, in part, about the influence movies can have. It begins with the flying Confederate flag of “Gone With the Wind” and shows the Klan members enthralled by D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation.” But it also captures characters lovingly discussing “Shaft” and “Superfly.”

“Here’s the first time I really realized what a movie can do. I went to see a Bruce Lee film on 42nd Street, and when people came out of there, people were doing flying kicks all over the sidewalk,” says Lee with a karate chop of his own.” And it clicked for me: That is a power.”

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