Joseph Gordon-Levitt is teaming up with Amazon Studios to create a film that chronicles the rise and fall of the Ku Klux Klan in post-Civil War America. Gordon-Levitt is set to produce and possibly star in the movie, which is titled K Troop, and will be based on international best-seller Matthew Pearl’s upcoming Slate article. The Hollywood Reporter announced that Amazon acquired the film rights to the drama after fighting off fierce competition.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 35, will be producing through his hitRECord Films company, which he founded in 2004. The project does not have a writer at this time but will be lead by Joseph.
Set in the Reconstruction-era South, the film will follow the rise of the KKK in 1865 and the U.S. Army regiment, K Troop, who rooted out and destroyed the white supremacist group. Although it has yet to be decided, the Hollywood Reporter states that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is considering starring in the project as Major Lewis Merrill. Major Lewis Merrill was the unit leader of K Troop and a fantastic military strategist who masterminded the downfall of the violent secret society in 1871. This would certainly be an excellent role for Joseph Gordon-Levitt to add to his glittering resume.
Although K Troop managed to oust the KKK, they returned in 1915 and grew throughout the early 1920s. They again rose in their third incarnation during the Civil Rights era and continue to have a presence to this day. Each movement of the KKK has advocated white nationalism, but now also have an emphasis on anti-immigration. This has led them to be labelled a right wing extremist organisation. They are also famed for wearing white robes and conical hats to conceal their identity and instil fear, all of which will play an important role in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s period drama.
Always a controversial topic, the KKK have made the news recently after ex-leader David Duke publicly backed Donald Trump. Trump then caused an uproar after failing to disavow Duke, according to CNN. Trump later took to Twitter to clarify.
As I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke- I disavow. pic.twitter.com/OIXFKPUlz2
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016
Prior to this, the KKK found themselves in the headlines after a rally in Anaheim exploded into violence on February 27. The Los Angeles Times reports that three people were stabbed and many were arrested at the scene, with police still searching for one individual.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has starred in Inception, 50/50, and Looper, is not one to shy away from difficult subject matter and will next be seen in Snowden – Oliver Stone’s biopic about whistle-blower Edward Snowden. The Guardian revealed that Gordon-Levitt had a secret meeting with the exiled CIA contractor in an undisclosed location in preparation for the role. Joseph described Snowden as “someone warm, kind, thoughtful.”
— Open Road Films (@OpenRoadFilms) March 3, 2015
While Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s K Troop is in the initial stages and has only just been obtained by Amazon Studios, it is already creating quite the buzz in the media. Although a delicate subject matter, it is likely to further Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s progression from a child actor to a Hollywood star into a respected filmmaker.
In addition to founding his production company hitRECord Films, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has also written, directed and starred in 2013’s Don Jon and produced a few acclaimed shorts. Gordon-Levitt is also set to produce the upcoming adaptation of the comic book series The Sandman.
K Troop is one of just several new stories that Amazon Studios have scooped according to Variety, as the studio also invested in seven films at the Sundance Film Festival. This included the much sought after drama Manchester by the Sea from Kenneth Lonergan, which received a huge ovation at the festival. This, and teaming up with a respected talent like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, shows intent from Amazon to shake up the filmmaking industry.
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