John Boyega
John Boyega has been cast in Kathryn Bigelow's crime drama based on the Detroit riots of the 1960s Frazer Harrison / Getty

John Boyega has joined Katheryn Bigelow's untitled crime drama project, set to tell the real-life story behind the Detroit race riot which took place in July 1967. Spanning five days, the event was held in response to cases of police brutality as well as segregated housing and schools. It later became known as one of the most violent urban revolts of the 20th Century.

According to a statement released by Annapurna Pictures, Bigelow's film will concentrate on "systemic racism" with screenwriter Mark Boal, who has worked frequently with Bigelow, penning the script. The movie will reportedly start shooting in the summer of this year, aiming for cinematic release in 2017, in order to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the riots.

Bigelow is no stranger to depicting real-life events on the big screen, having previously masterminded pictures such as Zero Dark Thirty, about the tracking and capture of Osama bin Laden and The Hurt Locker, which was very loosely based on accounts written by Boal whilst he was working as a freelance journalist embedded with an American bomb squad in the Iraq war in 2004.

Currently, the only other actor rumoured to be joining Boyega in the picture is fellow British star Hannah Murray, best known for her work in anthology television series Skins. But it is likely that now the project is officially off the ground, more concrete cast members will be announced in the coming months, making up the ensemble that the studios want to lead the multi-faceted piece.

Bigelow's historical drama isn't the only title Boyega has been linked to recently. Earlier this month, it was confirmed that he would appear in Guillermo del Toro's forthcoming sequel Pacific Rim: Maelstrom. Before then however, he will be seen in sci-fi thriller The Circle opposite Tom Hanks and Emma Watson as well as reprising his role as Finn in Star Wars: Episode VIII.

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