Photot by Gary Leonard
As the country prepares to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles uprising in April, we can now count 5 projects that are at some stage of development, set to premiere in the next month, or some time later this year.
Just yesterday, we reported on Showtime's new feature-length documentary "Burn Motherf*cker, Burn!", directed by Sacha Jenkins ("Fresh Dressed"), which will explore the complicated relationship between the Los Angeles Police Department and the city's black and minority communities, tracing a throughline from the 1962 ransacking of a Los Angeles Nation of Islam mosque (which left many injured and one man dead), to the 1965 Watts riots, the rise of L.A. street gangs in the 1970s and '80s, and the Rodney King beating in 1991.
There's also writer/director Deniz Gamze Ergüven's English-language feature film debut, “Kings,” which stars Halle Berry, in a story set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the acquittal of the police officers charged with the excessive beating of Rodney King. Berry plays a mother living in South Central, Los Angeles, where the riots began; Daniel Craig plays a white male neighbor and love interest to Berry’s character.
And John Ridley is working on a feature length documentary for ABC about the racial tensions in Los Angeles in the ’80s and early ’90s, pegged to the 25th anniversary of the 1992 riots. The two-hour doc, “Let It Fall: LA 1982-1992,” will air on ABC in spring 2017.
Finally, Spike Lee has directed a taping of Roger Guenveur Smith’s one-man Rodney King show, which has been picked up by Netflix to premiere on April 28 – a date that coincides with what will be the 25th anniversary of the acquittals of the LAPD officers who were videotaped brutally beating King in 1991. Titled “Rodney King,” the work is an adaptation of Smith’s Bessie Award-winning stage production of the same name.
And there might be others...
Announced today by A&E, the network will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots next month with a two-hour documentary co-produced by John Singleton.
To be titled “L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later,” A&E has set an April 18 premiere for the film which will chronicle the civil unrest that shook the nation, telling the story from the POV of those who lived through it all, including police officers, rioters, bystanders caught in the crossfire, and the reporters who covered the chaos.
Singleton himself - a native of Los Angeles - was still basking in the glow of the critical and commercial success of his feature film debut, 1991’s Oscar-nominated “Boyz n the Hood,” when the riots erupted on April 29, 1992.
“I believe the 1992 L.A. uprising has never truly been given a voice until now,” Singleton says in a press statement. “We’ve attempted to chronicle the untold stories and unique perspectives of people whose lives were profoundly affected by this event. As a native Los Angeleno I know the actions of that three-day event didn’t just appear out of thin air. The city was a powder keg boiling at the seams for many years under police brutality and economic hardship of people of color.”
One9 and Erik Parker are directing the documentary, which is being backed by Entertainment One and Creature Films. Singleton is executive producing with Trevor Engelson, Tara Long, John Morayniss, Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez.
No marketing materials at this time.