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Being True ~ Oscar Recipient Kevin Willmott Screenwriter

Being True ~ Oscar Recipient Kevin Willmott Screenwriter

Kevin Willmott, Oscar® winner screenwriter, brings his insight into screenwriting adaptation, being true to self, and BlacKkKlansman to the Prochnow Auditorium in Flagstaff AZ.

Kevin Willmott Blakklansman 4chion lifestyle
Kevin Willmott and Tammy Ann

Kevin Willmott Screenwriting

Willmott discusses creating stories that Stallworth tells from Willmott’s own life experience. This is one part of the screenplay he owns. He states, “Telling a character’s story you have to fictionalize the stories. Often as a writer, you do that with your own life experiences.”

His adapting from the book he takes as much as he can from the source. A screenwriter’s job is to create a movie. Willmott tries to remain as loyal to the book as possible. He tries to connect to the spirit of the story when writing the film. The addition of Flip Zimmerman being Jewish brings the spirit of the film. This adds to the story with the KKK suppressing and victimizing not only African Americans but also others.

Willmott takes a lot of his writing to the awareness of human behavior. The ability to find the darkness in human behavior comes from life experience and observations. His ability to bring the real enemy provides an insight to the audience to think their own human behavior. He states, “we need to remain true to ourselves.”

Kevin Willmott Film Ending

The KKK burning cross scene was the end of the film and brought to the front that there are still issues in our country today. The addition of Charlottesville to the movie is the true events. This moment in history wrote this scene in the film of that day. They had to bring this moment to the completed film. “The characters, President Donald Trump and David Duke, wrote themselves right into the film,” he says. The narrative in this present day event fit with the completed film. The screening of the film completed with a standing ovation. 

Willmott takes time after the film to discuss the screenwriting, production, and how he has fought against racism his entire life.  “America First” is a Nazi slogan from the 1930s used in this country at rallies across the US. “Make America Great Again” is from the 1970s. David Duke started this propaganda on the Donahue show. They did not have to reach to tie the past to the current political rhetoric.  Willmott says, “The past is living in us today right now. It is what is making it a dangerous time.”

Kevin Willmott Twoness

The main theme of the film as well as life in America is twoness. That happens to anyone who has to deal with a majority that does not understand who you are. Willmott explains, “that the film has 2 Ron Stallworths in the film. The real Ron Stallworth faces being black and blue. The other being white and being Jewish. Throughout the film, there is often twoness with Ron Stallworth character and life in America.

Focus Features BLACKkKLANSMAN Los Angeles Premiere, Los Angeles, CA, USA - 8 August 2018
Kevin Willmott, Writer

Kevin Willmott Racism

The language in the film and racism is something that Spike Lee, director, and Willmott decided to not apologize for it, didn’t tone it down, didn’t make it palpable, didn’t make it better than it is, and show it for everything it is. This creates the absurdity that makes the humor and lets the audience deal with uncomfortable feelings.

Harry Belafonte’s scene runs between the KKK initiation scenes. This is a powerful moment in the film that takes me to something I learned as a young child. Not everyone sees the world or people the same. There are times in our life that we are asked to stop and think about our own stance and view. The value of finding your own voice to stand and speaking up is important. Willmott explains, “it is not always easy to do this but you teach those around you that it is wrong.”

Willmott brings a strong statement to the audience when discussing racism. He says, “We would like to believe that they are a different creature than we are. In reality they look like everyday folks like we are.” The ability for the screenwriting to portray this in film brings the darkness of racism.

He greatest message is that we need to understand what I means to be American, our complex history, and living in American. We need to understand more about each other and eliminate the ignorance. 

Kevin Willmott Side Note

David Duke did call Ron Stallworth when the film finished. He asked, “How am I portrayed in the film?” 

This is a film that brings the circle of life in America clearly. We have times in this country where we are good and flowing forward and then step back in time. Traveling the US this past year I often stopped at many locations for Underground Railroad. The feeling standing where thousands risked their lives to be understood by the majority is a true insight into the human spirit. We need to eliminate the ignorance and misgivings by standing true.


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