Topher Grace contacted police after receiving a threatening phone call reacting to his role as former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman.” According to reports (via TMZ), Grace told police that someone called him over the phone and referred to him using a gay slur. The mystery caller also warned Grace that his role as Duke would “ruin race relations in America.”
“BlacKkKlansman” centers around the true story of Ron Stallworth, played in the film by John David Washington. Stallworth, a black police detective, infiltrated a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs in the 1970s. The detective would speak to Klan members over the phone and he recruited one of his white colleagues to play himself during in-person Klan meetings. Stallworth’s investigation led him to speaking over the phone with Duke, which is where Grace is featured.
Grace reportedly described the caller as “aggressive” and “angry.” The actor has received strong reviews for his turn as Duke, with IndieWire’s David Ehrlich saying Grace is so convincing that he makes Duke “eminently punchable and a regrettably familiar weasel.” Grace said playing Duke took an emotional toll on him, so much so that he turned to recutting Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy into a single movie to help take his mind off Duke’s racial hate.
“BlacKkKlansman” is now playing in theaters via Focus Features. The movie netted Lee his best opening weekend in a decade. Head here for IndieWire’s full interview with Grace about the film and playing Duke.