Daniel Craig is clearly not one to rest upon his laurels, now that his departure from the role of James Bond seems clear. In addition to signing up for the new TV show Purity, he is committing to a number of film projects – and the next one may well be Kings, with Academy Award winner Halle Berry.
Kings is set to be first English language film from acclaimed director Deniz Gamze Erguven, whose directorial debut, Mustang, received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film earlier this year. This is, reportedly, a project that Erguven has been developing for some time, and will now forge ahead into production with her Mustang producer, Charles Gillibert.
The story unfolds against the backdrop of the L.A riots in 1992, which followed the acquittal of the Los Angeles police officers who were filmed beating local resident Rodney King. The violence lasted for six days, and left 55 people dead, many more injured, and caused millions of dollars worth of damage to the city and its infrastructure.
In this film, Craig would play Ollie – a loner living in a South Central neighbourhood. Halle Berry would play the female lead – characterized as a protective mother who cares for a large group of children. As the riots erupt, Ollie helps his neighbour as she desperately tries to find each of the young people in her care, and keep them from harm.
While Erguven’s Mustang was rightly praised as insightful, female-centric filmmaking, it is my fervent hope that a step into mainstream Hollywood doesn’t cause this director to fall into the trap of the white male narrative. The premise as described – though somewhat vague – sounds an awful lot like the ‘white male saviour,’ swooping in to rescue the struggling black woman in a crisis situation. Not to mention the problematic idea of using the very real, very current issue of police brutality against black citizens, and racism in America in general, to tell a story about a white man riding to the rescue.
But, Kings is a Deniz Gamze Erguven film, and hopefully, the plot description is more a reflection of tone-deaf Hollywood PR, than of the real characterization of the movie. Time will tell as it draws closer to principal photography – but with these names involved, we can expect anticipation to be very high.