Katheryn Bigelow's next film to be based on 1967 Detroit riots

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Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (the only female director to ever do so) may have started her career with cult favourite actioners like Point Break and Strange Days, but she has built up quite a reputation over her last few movies in making deep, intense military thrillers with a sharp political message through The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. It’s been a while since we’ve seen anything from her and although there have been rumours of her attachment with various other projects, she has instead decided to team up again with the screenwriter of those two films, Mark Boal, for her next effort.

And it seems like she will be moving away from the military setting this time, but still hitting the political angle head on with this next effort. Joblo reports that her next project, so far titled as “Untitled Detroit Project,” is set to be a crime drama set against the backdrop of the 1967 Detroit riots.

No other plot details have been released as of yet, but these riots kicked off following a police raid on an unlicensed bar and led to five days of rioting in the city of Detroit. This prompted Governor George W. Romney to order the Michigan Army National Guard into Detroit as well President Lyndon B. Johnson sending in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. The end result was over forty deaths and thousands of injuries, arrests, and destroyed buildings.

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So there will still be some military stuff going on, but this sounds like the strong premise for a good story and if screenwriter Mark Boal can focus on a lot of key characters in the event, it might turn into a strong film. Boal himself has apparently been researching the riots for over a year in preparation for the script and the film is set to start principal photography later this year. In speaking to Deadline, Boal had this to say:

Nobody in Washington predicted that Bowe’s journey would take so many twists and turns and would continue to be unresolved, I certainly didn’t see it coming and I was working on this other story at the same time. It’s also a very timely tale that deals with systemic racism in a way I think is relevant to contemporary audiences. It felt like the right thing to do to go ahead with the Detroit project, which was finished, and tell that story now. We will circle back to Bergdahl when the military proceedings are resolved.

He is referring to an earlier collaboration planned between Boal and Bigelow about Bowe Bergadhl, the U.S. Army soldier who was held captive in Afghanistan from 2009 until his release in 2014. However that film had to be pushed back due to a pending court case with the soldier which got Boal focusing on this film.

There is currently no official release date for the film, but they are expected to be aiming for a release date in 2017, the 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots. No stars have yet been officially announced for the film, but expected to hear more on this in the coming months.

Last Updated: February 1, 2016

Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be discovering the cure for aids or finding ways to achieve world peace, but I’d rather be watching movies and writing here instead.

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