Brotherhood And Betrayal
"If you and Wander keep tearing down the law to go after the devil,
what protection will we have when the devil comes after us?"
When first introduced to Detective Tom Ludlow, he is still reeling from the death of his wife and finds solace in the bottle. He lives in the shadows of the streets and while he works alone, he serves under the protection of the brotherhood of Ad Vice and its leader, the enigmatic Captain Jack Wander.
"Ludlow started out with righteous intentions wanting to save the world but somehow finds himself going very wrong," comments Ayer. "He's a man with a moral compass, which is why he's so troubled, and senses somehow that his life isn't going the right way."
STREET KINGS asks some provocative questions. What price should be paid for the greater good and at whose expense? Where does the responsibility lie for a broken system and how can we fault those who put themselves in harms way? Who protects those who protect us? Essentially it is a story of brotherhood, loyalty and survival and all the gray areas in between.
"What makes this story interesting to me is that there's nuance to these characters and everyone has a shade of gray," explains David Ayer. "It's an urban thriller, so everyone's a little bit corrupt, but I think the same is true in real life. Nobody wakes up and thinks they're the bad guy. In their eyes they have found themselves in situations that grew beyond their control and are trying to survive."
David Ayer continues that although the film deals with the darker aspects of who we are as people, it illustrates there is always the opportunity for redemption: "The film is structured like a tragedy and feels like a train wreck, but there is incredible redemption there. There is a message that no matter how far gone you are, there is always a way back."
"Anytime you try to tell a story that's populated by real people, there is going to be heroism, darkness, idealism, corruption, betrayal and love," says Stoff. "Those are all the facets of life in every city and we weren't interested in telling a story that was only dark and nihilistic that didn't leave you without someone finding their higher purpose. While the story certainly takes a very dark and disturbing turn, it really is the story of a hero."
The Noble Warrior
Digging deep: Keanu Reeves as Tom Ludlow
"You're the tip of the spear, man. Who'll hold back the animals?"
-Captain Jack Wander
With the success of such films as SPEED and THE MAXTRIX trilogy, Keanu Reeves has become one of the most beloved and iconic actors of his generation. His films have made an indelible mark on the landscape of filmmaking and he has one of the most recognizable faces in the world. In STREET KINGS, Reeves and his manager/producer Erwin Stoff saw an opportunity to tackle a complex role with a fully formed and personal performance.
"After initially reading the script I thought this role would be a singularly fantastic opportunity for Keanu as an actor," recalls producer Erwin Stoff. "He is not the type of actor who wants an expectation placed on him of the kind of roles he should take and that's been the hallmark of his career."
"I was intrigued by the level of violence surrounding the character and the dramatic consequences of that," explains Keanu Reeves. "He can be viewed as either someone who kills in the name of the law or someone who delivers justice. Dramatically, there's a high price to pay and I was interested in how it would all play out."
To help extract an honest and truthful performance from Reeves, David Ayer attempted to create a world steeped in truth and grit by surrounding the actor with plenty of physical realism to draw from. He was immersed in the culture of Los Angeles and some of the most challenged areas in the city.
"What was very exciting to me was the idea o
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