Kathryn Bigelow's 'Detroit' revisits harrowing chapter in U.S. history

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Five years ago, director Kathryn Bigelow wowed audiences with the gripping Oscar-nominated military drama "Zero Dark Thirty."

She ripped out another page from history for her new movie "Detroit."

And she hired some fresh faces to help bring the story of the 1967 Detroit rebellion to life.

The film tells the story of one of the largest race riots in U.S. history, and it centers on events at the Algiers Motel.

By the time it was over, three black men had been murdered, and nine other people - seven black men and two white women - were brutally beaten. Actors Leon Thomas III and Algee Smith help bring this story to life.

"There's a lot of people who don't even know about this story so we want to educate," Smith said. "But we also want to get empathy from those people that were living in that time and that may have felt a certain way. Or we just want people to understand why that happened."

"This was an under-told story but it was also a bestselling book, 'The Algiers Motel Incident,'" Thomas said. "And I feel like a lot of people want to look into this situation and find out more. And I really just hope that the world gets an opportunity to step on in those doors and experience and put a story behind this tragedy."

The film confronts police brutality - something we've seen captured on America's streets in much more recent times.

"It's just a fact. People need to know this story," Thomas said. "They need to know that this has been happening for 50 long years and it's time for progression."

Smith agrees. "It's American history. It's not just black history. It's American history and everyone needs to know."

"Detroit" is in theaters in limited release on Friday, and wider release on Aug. 4.
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