The most notorious, brutal incident of the 1967 Detroit riot, the Algiers Motel killings, will be the subject of the long-anticipated movie by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow.
A trailer released Wednesday morning revealed the story of the film, which has been shrouded in relative secrecy up to now. The movie will be titled simply "Detroit."
In the trailer, as images of fires blazing and U.S. military men entering the city's streets rush by, an offscreen voice says, "It's a war zone out there. They're destroying the city."
On a bus, a group of young African-American men see what's going on. "Hey, we're not too far from the Algiers. Let's just go there 'til all this blows over," one of them says.
Amid scenes of swimming and partying at the motel, actor Jason MItchell ("Straight Outta Compton") says, "Being black is almost like having a gun pointed at your face."
What happens next is a flash of chaotic images, but it appears that a gun fired accidentally inside the motel draws the attention of law enforcement officer, who spray the motel with gunfire. Then they enter the rooms and the young people are forced to kneel and face the wall.
At one point, actor Will Poulter, who appears to be a plainclothes officer, yells. "You think we're bluffing? We don't bluff."
Early scenes also show "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" actor John Boyega in a law enforcement uniform.
"Detroit" is expected to arrive in theaters August 4, days after the real-life 50th anniversary of the riot.
What took place at the Algiers Motel has become synonymous with the systemic racism that helped spark the devastating violence in the city. Forty-three people died in the violence that erupted in the summer of 1967, many of them killed by police.
The now-gone motel was where Detroit police, state troopers, national guard and a private security guard went to check out reports of sniping. By the time they were through, three young black men had been killed, allegedly execution-style by being shot at close range.
Three white policemen were charged in the events related to their deaths. There was a years-long legal process of motions, appeals and delays, but nobody was ever convicted.
In June 2016, the Detroit Free Press reported that the movie, then called "Untitled Detroit Project," might be focusing on the Algiers Motel killings. A local source said a team of freelancers had been hired by the film in 2015 to research the story.
,Also two years ago, a production company launched by the movie's screenwriter Mark Boal inquired about obtaining the rights to "The Algiers Motel Incident," the 1968 non-fiction best-seller by Pulitzer-winning author John Hersey that Newsweek described as "a forceful dossier against racism in the U.S. system of justice."
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