×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto: John Ridley Talks Plans for L.A. Riots Pic

Scribe behind ‘12 Years,’ ‘All Is by My Side’ works with Imagine on film about 1992 L.A. crisis

Screenwriter John Ridley immersed himself in the 1800s for “12 Years a Slave” and dove into the 1960s rock scene for Jimi Hendrix biopic “All Is by My Side” (pictured above), both playing in Toronto.

Meanwhile, he’s ready to focus on 1992 Los Angeles as he tries to get his “L.A. Riots” script off the ground with Imagine Entertainment.

Both Toronto films were in production during the late spring last year, with Ridley directing “All Is by My Side” in Dublin and consulting on the script while shooting on Steve McQueen’s brutal epic “12 Years” took place in New Orleans. “That was a little tricky,” Ridley recalls.

A fan of Hendrix since high school, Ridley years later discovered the Hendrix song “Sending My Love to Linda,” about fashion model Linda Keith, who heard Hendrix perform in London in 1966 and played a key role in encouraging his career.

Ridley, whose writing credits include “Red Tails” and “Three Kings,” did a 2010 show about “Sending My Love to Linda” for National Public Radio and then decided to do the feature independently.

“I knew it would not be a studio script,” he notes. “If Paul Greengrass and the Hughes Brothers are having problems, then it’s not going to happen for me.”

Outkast’s Andre Benjamin, who stars as Hendrix, learned to play like the maestro — left handed with a right-hand guitar strung upside down — to boost the authenticity of the film. Ridley looked to model the Hendrix pic on singular biopics like “Sid and Nancy,” Lenny” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” — films that tell stories that transcend the artifice of the performance.

Ridley’s also been working on rewrites of his “L.A. Riots” script with Justin Lin attached to direct. He’s hopeful that “12 Years” and “All Is by My Side” can generate enough success to push “Riots” toward production.

“It was a Black List script that I wrote on spec and sold in 2007 before the world changed financially,” Ridley notes. “I feel like we’ve got to make this happen now. People often think that it was limited to Rodney King and Reginald Denny, but there are so many other interconnected stories.”

Two decades after the fact, Ridley remains amazed that Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and LAPD chief Darryl Gates had not talked for a year prior to the April 1992 riots, which left 45 people dead.

“It was a systemic meltdown,” Ridley notes. “The city and how it functions is the primary character of the film.”

More Film

  • Midnight Traveler review

    Film Review: 'Midnight Traveler'

    Refugees rarely get to tell their own stories, which means their stories get told for them — often inaccurately and with undue hostility. Lack of resources is one issue, but a lack of stability is another: Asylum-seekers are in a frightening state of limbo, fleeing the imminent dangers of their native countries only to suffer [...]

  • WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make

    WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make Deals if Agents are Fired

    The Writers Guild of America has authorized managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents — if the guild tells members to fire their agents on April 7. The guild’s negotiating committee notified members of the plans in a message Wednesday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents having made [...]

  • Gone With the Wind Screening

    Film News Roundup: 'Gone With the Wind' Sets Event Cinema Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Gone with the Wind” sets a new record, “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is acquired, and Tracy Oliver signs with Topic Studios. EVENT CINEMA RECORD The 80th anniversary release of “Gone with the Wind” has grossed $2.23 million in six nationwide screenings on four dates — a record as the [...]

  • Made in Abyss - Journey’s Dawn

    Film Review: ‘Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn’

    It’s a Herculean effort to take a multi-volume manga like author Akihito Tsukushi’s “Made in Abyss,” adapt it into a popular anime television series, and then compress the show into a coherent feature (technically, two movies), but the folks at Sentai Filmworks have done just that. Part one, “Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn,” will screen [...]

  • HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market

    HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market Winners

    Eighteen prizes were presented on Wednesday afternoon at the closing ceremony of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. The project market sits alongside FilMart as part of the Entertainment Expo in Hong Kong. “Wong Tai Sin Assassination” to be directed by Wong Hoi and produced by Derek Kwok Tsz-kin, was named the winner of [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Makes Concession on Film Financing in Agent Talks

    The Writers Guild of America has made a concession in film financing in its negotiations with Hollywood talent agents — the second in six weeks of talks. WGA West executive director David Young said Wednesday that it had made a “significant move” toward reaching a deal with the Association of Talent Agents for a revamped [...]

  • Noah Centineo He-Man

    Noah Centineo to Play He-Man in 'Masters of the Universe' Reboot

    From a boy (who’s loved) to He-Man. Noah Centineo is in talks to take on the superhero in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films’ “Masters of the Universe.” Brothers Adam and Aaron Nee are directing the reboot. Mattel Films is partnering with Sony on the movie, which is based on Mattel’s beloved toy line that spawned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content