It’s been quite some time since we heard about screenwriter John Ridley’s L.A. Riots movie, with the last bit of news suggesting that Justin Lin was circling the director’s chair. Now it looks like Ridley will be directing from his own screenplay for Broad Green Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. The Oscar-winning screenwriter for 12 Years a Slave and creator of Emmy-winning ABC series American Crime takes the helm of the untitled picture as Brian Grazer steps in as producer.
The Wrap reports that Ridley will now write and direct the movie centering on the shocking and transformative events that took place on Los Angeles city streets in April of 1992. After the acquittal of four LAPD officers – who were on trial for the nearly beating black motorist Rodney King to death – racial tension, economic despair, and a long-brewing distrust of law enforcement culminated in a destructive citywide riot. Four days of arson and looting left more than 50 dead and 2,300 injured, with an estimated $1 billion in property damage.
“This is a seminal event in our country’s history, the reverberations of which are still far too relevant today. We were blown away by John’s amazing screenplay and we know that under his direction and the aegis of Imagine the film will be truly incredible. This is why we started this company. To make movies like this,” said Broad Green founders Gabriel and Daniel Hammond.
Grazer also added his own thoughts:
“We have barely seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of John Ridley‘s talent. I am confident that he will capture the magnitude of the events that unfolded and the issues that led up to them. He will show the world why the riots cannot and should not be forgotten.”
A feature adaptation of something as culturally and racially sensitive as the 1992 L.A. Riots obviously needs a steady hand and an objective mind. Ridley certainly seems capable, but it will be a while before we see anything substantial from this project to get a better angle on his take.