'Detroit' actors hope 'realness' of the film educates, sparks conversation

- From Academy Award Winning director Kathryn Bigelow comes "Detroit," a new film that tells the gripping story of one of the darkest moments during the civil unrest that rocked the city in the summer of 1967.

The movie tells the story of a group of people who sought shelter at the Algiers Motel, which turned into one of the most dangerous places they could be. Three young black men were murdered. Fifty years later, Detroit and cities all over the country are still facing some of those same, dark moments.

Actors Jason Mitchell and Algee Smith joined us on The Nine to tell us more about the film -- and how they hope it opens up a conversation about those dark moments. The movie has been described as being very real and, at times, hard to watch. 

"If you're not uncomfortable, [a movie is] just entertainment at that point. Our goal with this movie is to educate, but also get empathy from people who don't understand the outlook that those people had back in that day that went through these situations," says Smith.

They say, sadly, they didn't have to look far for inspiration for their role, especially with things they'd see or read on social media.

"We're just trying to put a mirror on society and say, 'Look, this is 50 years [ago]. As we can see, what has changed within our justice system?' Smith says. "All we want to do is start that conversation."

"This is history 50 years ago, and it's based on a true story. We're giving you all facts," says Mitchell. "Yes, you are taking an emotional ride but, at the same time, this is history from 50 years ago. So, however it makes you feel now is ...,"

"It's what's in your heart," Smith picks up. "There will be people that feel empathy for it, and there will be people that may not feel anything from it - and we're okay with that. We just want, at least, to start the conversation for the people that don't know, have no idea."

'Detroit' castmates volunteer at Gleaners, celebrate city's birthday 

The world premiere of "Detroit" is at the Fox Theatre on Tuesday, July 25 -- the 50th anniversary of the day the Algiers Motel incident began.

The movie opens in select cities this weekend. It will play at the Bel Air Luxury Cinema in Detroit and the AMC Star John R 15 in Madison Heights on July 28. It opens in theaters nationwide on August 4.

"Detroit" is rated R.

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