Jordan Peele‘s last box-office success, Get Out, centered around a Black protagonist attempting to escape the clutches of his white supremacist captors. His upcoming thriller project with Spike Lee will tell the real-life story of a Black cop who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan and rose through its ranks to sabotage the hate group in the 1970s.
According to the Hollywood Reporter Lee will direct and produce the film while Peele is producing from his banner Monkeypaw Productions. John David Washington, Ballers actor and son of Denzel Washington, is in negotiations to play Ron Stallworth, the Black Colorado Springs cop who went undercover with the KKK.
Despite the polarizing racial dialogue surrounding the deathly violence in Charlottesville, led by the protesting of white supremacists, and the ongoing conversation regarding the politics of removing Confederate statues across the U.S., Lee and Peele have been working on the film for at least two years.
Stallworth began his intelligence gathering in 1978 after answering a newspaper ad posing as a white supremacist. Over phone calls and other correspondence, even with then-Grand Wizard David Duke, Stallworth gathered information to sabotage the Klan’s plans. To keep up his ruse, Stallworth would send his white friend Chuck who worked in narcotics to attend events in his place.
According to the Root, Stallworth’s police chief panicked seven months into his investigation and forced him to shut it down. The local Colorado Springs chapter had voted for Stallworth to lead the chapter for being a “loyal and dedicated Klansman.” Instead of going forward, the chief ordered him to change the undercover phone line, destroy his reports, and make “Ron Stallworth the Klansman” disappear.
And Stallworth did—sort of. He stopped the investigation but took the reports home with him, bringing them out 35 years later to write his 2014 autobiography Black Klansman.
Filming for the project is scheduled to begin this fall.