At Comic-Con on Friday, I moderated “The Spirit” panel with Frank Miller, Deborah Del Prete, Jaime King and Gabriel Macht, but really, the star of the show was Samuel L. Jackson, who hit the stage knowing full well that the audience belonged to him. It was great talking to Sam backstage as well and he mentioned his upcoming work in the movie “Lakeview Terrace.” It sounded intriguing and left me wanting to know more — and this morning I got my wish thanks to John Horn, one of the top journalists at the L.A. Times (or anywhere else). Here’s an excerpt:
The Los Angeles Police Department and race relations factor prominently in a number of celebrated dramas, including “Crash” and “L.A. Confidential.” The upcoming thriller “Lakeview Terrace” pushes the often combustible mix of law enforcement and ethnic identity into a notably different direction: the film’s racist police officer is black.
Many events conspire to drive LAPD Officer Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) off the deep end, but one of the film’s more incendiary ideas focuses on the role of interracial romance. Part of what transforms Turner from a man with a badge into the neighbor from hell is the newly married couple next door: Chris Mattson (Patrick Wilson) is white, while his wife, Lisa (Kerry Washington), is black.
“It was a different take, something that is not often portrayed,” said James Lassiter, who with actor Will Smith produced “Lakeview Terrace” for Sony’s Screen Gems. Race, Lassiter added, “is not the singular driver of [Turner’s] hate. But he is a racist.”
It’s not just that Turner disapproves of his neighbors’ latte-sipping lifestyle, which includes indiscreet romantic encounters, liberal friends and — the horror! — a hybrid car (Turner’s a giant SUV-driving right-winger). Turner, a single father of two, also can’t stand that the skin color of his neighbors isn’t the same. “You can listen to that noise all night long,” Turner at one point says to Chris as he listens to rap music, “but when you wake up in the morning, you’ll still be white.”
Read more on Jackson and “Lakeview Terrace.”
— Geoff Boucher
Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/Screen Gems