Back to IndieWire

David Duke Has Respect for Spike Lee, But He’s Concerned About His Portrayal in ‘BlacKkKlansman’

Ron Stallworth, the real life "BlacKkKlansman," says he spoke with Duke over the phone recently about Lee's award-winning new movie.

Topher Grace as David Duke in "BlacKkKlansman"

Topher Grace as David Duke in “BlacKkKlansman”

Focus Features

Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” casts Topher Grace as former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, and it turns out the involvement of the character in Lee’s award-winning new movie is worrying the real David Duke. Lee appeared opposite Ron Stallworth on a recent for an interview with Lester Holt on NBC’s “Nightly News,” and the real “BlacKkKlansman” made a surprising reveal when he said he was contacted just a day earlier by Duke himself.

“Why don’t you tell [Holt] about the latest development?” Spike said to Stallworth during the interview. “Tell him.”

“The latest development was I got a phone call yesterday from David Duke,” Stallworth said. “

He wanted to talk about the fact that he’s concerned about how he is going to be portrayed in this film. He complimented Spike. He said I’ve always respected Spike Lee. Which surprised the heck out of me.”

Lee responded to Duke’s comment by saying, “That’s a compliment I don’t need.”

“BlacKkKlansman” stars John David Washington as Stallworth, who infiltrated the Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan by posing as a white man over the phone. Stallworth recruited his white colleague (Adam Driver) to pose as him during KKK meetings in person. The film includes several scenes of Stallworth and Duke talking over the phone. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich referred to Duke in the film as “an eminently punchable and regrettably familiar weasel.”

Focus Features opens “BlacKkKlansman” in theaters August 10. Watch Stallworth and Lee’s appearance on “Nightly News” in the video below.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox