Why BlackKklansman Came At The Perfect Time For Topher Grace

Topher Grace as David Duke

As far as filmmakers go, there are few quite as iconic and acclaimed as Spike Lee. Throughout his long career, the director has made each Spike Lee joint a musical and hyper stylized story that often focuses on the black experience in America. His newest piece of work, other than his Netflix series She's Gotta Have It, is called BlackKklansman. Based on a larger than life true story about a black detective infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan in the 70s, the cast includes That '70s show alum Topher Grace, who plays real-life KKK leader David Duke. I recently had the chance to speak with Grace about the difficulties of playing Duke, and he revealed why his casting in BlackKklansman came at such a good time:

I just had a kid. My Wife and I had our first. It's a really confusing time, you kind of take stock in yourself when you have your first. What world am I bringing this little girl into? My confusion and frustration with what's going on was just really at its height, and then I got this script. It was a real cathartic way for me to comment, in my way. I'm not a public figure, but Spike is. Under Spike's wing we got to say something, which is so rare. Acting is such a silly job. But once in awhile you get to be in something where you feel like you're contributing to the conversation in a positive way.

While we live in a crazy world, that reality is even more daunting when bringing a new life into it. So while Topher Grace may be overwhelmed watching the news and current state of affairs in the country, he was able to channel his feelings into his role as David Duke in BlackKklansman.

Topher Grace's comments may strike audiences surprising, especially after seeing BlackKklansman. While Spike Lee's tone is fascinating and unique, Grace had to spew some serious hate throughout the film's runtime. An open white supremacist, the former Grand Wizard of the KKK is shown preaching to his followers, as well as speaking directly to Detective Ron Stallworth on the phone. Sitting in his shoes (and robes, as the case may be) was certainly challenging for the Spider-Man 3 actor, but Topher Grace grinned and bared it, knowing he was helping Spike Lee's message get across to cinephiles.

You can see my conversation with Topher Grace below.

David Duke functions really interesting within the confines of BlackKklansman. In some ways he's the villain, while also being at the butt of many jokes. We'll just have to wait and see if the real-life Duke catches the flick, and has thoughts on Topher Grace's performance.

You can catch Topher Grace as David Duke in BlackKklansman starting on August 10, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.