as racist 'Detroit' cop took actor Poulter to
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[August 03, 2017]
By Nick Carey
DETROIT (Reuters) - The
sadistic, racist police officer at the center of the
movie "Detroit" may be one of the more terrifying
characters seen on film this year.
Playing him was equally frightening, according
to actor Will Poulter.
"My internal monologue at that time was quite difficult to
wrestle with," said Poulter, 24, who portrays a white Detroit
cop who taunts, pistol-whips and beats up a group of black men
and two white women in an hours-long interrogation during the
1967 Detroit riots.
Director Kathryn Bigelow's "Detroit" is based on a hitherto
little-known incident that ended with the police shootings of
three black men. Reviewers have called it powerful but painful
Poulter's character, Krauss, is a composite of some of the
actual Detroit police officers who were later tried and
acquitted of any crimes over the incident.
Poulter, who is British, said there was "no sense of enjoyment
or relish in playing a role like this because he (Krauss) is so
offensive and heinous."
Deadline.com film critic Pete Hammond called his performance
"the epitome of evil," while A.O. Scott of the New York Times
said Poulter played the role as "a callow sociopath."
The actor said he had been forced to "embrace ignorance" in
order to play the racist officer.
"You are having to momentarily convince yourself that just
because some of us are a different ethnic group, (black people
are) a threat to you, or they are immediately a criminal," he
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"You know you're not forming your opinions on any truth or any kind
of rational basis. You're having to accept ignorance as the thing
that informs all of your behaviors. And it's quite a frightening
place to be."
Poulter was previously best known for comedy "We're the Millers" and
for playing a bully in "The Maze Runner."
But he said that despite his unease at his most recent role, he
wanted to be part of the movie because it publicizes a little-known
"I just wanted to be part of the team that sheds light on that fact
and be part of something that was socially and politically
relevant," he said.
"Detroit" opened in major U.S. cities last week and expands to movie
theaters nationwide on Friday.
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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