EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — He’s the local man who fooled a hate group into accepting him as one of their own, and now, his incredible tale is headed to the big screen.
“It’s very surreal,” Ron Stallworth told KTSM. “My wife and I periodically pinch ourselves and say, ‘Can you believe this?'”
In 1978, Stallworth — while working as a detective in Colorado Springs, Colorado — went undercover as a member of Ku Klux Klan. The Austin High School graduate posed as a white man on the phone, communicating with Klan leaders like David Duke. At KKK meetings, a white police officer would stand in for Stallworth, trying to say as little as possible.
Over the course of seven months, Stallworth was able to gather intelligence on the Klan and thwart several crossing burnings.
“They had to at all times believe they were communicating with one person,” he told KTSM. “Many of (the Klan members) are not the brightest bulbs in the socket. There’s a lot lacking. So they did not recognize that they were talking to one person on the phone and another person in person.”
Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee is currently directing a film based on Stallworth’s 2014 book “Black Klansman.” The project is being produced by Jordan Peele, director of the Oscar-nominated film “Get Out.”
The film will star John David Washington (son of Denzel Washington) as Stallworth, “Stars Wars” actor Adam Driver as his white counterpart, and “That 70s Show” star Topher Grace as a white supremacist. A release date is expected for later this year, in time for Academy Awards consideration.
“It’s only right that this movie gets made,” Stallworth’s wife Patsy Terrazas-Stallworth told KTSM. “And if it touches just one person, then he’s succeeded.”