As Straight Outta Compton continues to boast its box office muscle and leave audiences humming about cruising down their respective blocks in a ’64, an interesting story popped up last week. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Ice Cube and his son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. were set to re-team with Straight Outta Compton executive producer Will Packer for a film based on the L.A riots titled, April 29, 1992. It made sense— the Rodney King trial, racial profiling and the L.A. riots were featured throughout Straight Outta Compton. Though Ice Cube and his representatives denied that he or his son is involved with the film, the movie is scheduled to begin filming in February of next year. The script is written by Sascha Penn and Packer is producing the project.
April 29, 1992 is a reference to the first day of rioting after the Rodney King verdict. The L.A riots were among the bloodiest in America’s history but its legacy seeps all over our national reality today. The acquittal of four white police officers despite evidence showing excessive force echoes and screams in relevance after riots broke out in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s and Freddie Gray’s deaths in the last year.
Though April 29, 1992 is a hot property with Hollywood’s hottest producer in Packer, Straight Outta Compton showed movie theater owner’s true face. Straight Outta Compton experienced increased security and some theaters even refused to show it, fearing rioting.
An interesting case study of increased security at the movies is coming very soon. A riot film about the LBGT riots in 1969 titled, Stonewall, will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. While the film has been subject to its own controversy over whitewashing, it portrays police in a negative light and is being prepped for a possible award season run if it catches fire in Toronto.
It will be interesting to see if this film experiences increased security at its screenings and if the security question will become the overriding story during its release like with Straight Outta Compton. The falsity of Black audiences rioting at movie screenings featuring racial-charged plots has always existed but has yet to manifest.
April 29, 1992 may very well be the most meta film released next year—a movie about security and police tactics against Black people playing out in fiction as it plays out in real life.