The cast of Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit were just as shocked by the movie's content as any audience member. The historical thriller tells the story of a violent incident at the Algiers Motel in 1967, in the midst of racial tension and police brutality, and the stars say they learned a lot about black history in the making of the film.
Members of the cast gathered for a special Awardsline screening of Detroit earlier this month, followed by a brief conversation with the audience. They shared how much -- or how little -- they knew about the Algiers Motel incident before filming, as well as what it's like working on a Kathryn Bigelow set.
“It was eye-opening to find out about a time in history that, for one reason or another, we were never taught in school,” said Laz Alonso, who played Conyers. “The fact that, throughout all of our lives, this isn’t required learning... I think that more than anything is what really raised the bar, as far as how serious our jobs were to bring this story to life, and show something that has not been discussed in school, or during Black History Month -- I learned most of my black history during Black History Month. For some reason [this] was swept under the rug."
Alonso's castmates, John Boyega, Tyler James Williams, and Will Poulter all shared similar sentiments. They felt that the movie was a chance to share a story with America that has become eerily relevant, despite being fifty years old.
Williams recalled that one of the women who lived through the incident in 1967 was on set throughout the whole shoot. "That was really great," he said earnestly. "to have somebody who could kind of check the tone, and make sure that we were hitting that... It raised the bar, to sit there and perform something in front of the person whose life this was."
Check out footage from the panel below:
Detroit comes to DVD and streaming services on December 12th.
Photo Credit: Annapurna Pictures / Francois Duhamel