Topher Grace on playing David Duke in 'BlacKkKlansman'

August 02, 2018 - 4:23 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- For Topher Grace, playing a 1970s-era David Duke -- the former Grand Wizard of the KKK -- in the Spike Lee film "BlacKkKlansman" didn't come easy. After all, he finds his views abhorrent.

And while playing Duke wasn't a goal of the former "That 70s Show" star, playing Duke in a Lee production was.

"I remember telling my agents I would be a good David Duke -- I was met by silence on the other end of the phone," Topher, 40, told 1010 WINS' "The Trend."

He added, "I didn't want to play David Duke in a TV movie of the week. I'm not passionate about playing David Duke. I'm very passionate about playing David Duke for Spike Lee, who is the greatest black filmmaker of all time."

Researching Duke was a bit tough to swallow for Grace, though. 

"I did so much research on David," he said. "The best phone called I ever got was Spike saying, 'I want you.' Then the next month was the worst month of my life. It was like reading his autobiography which is called 'My Awakening,' which is like his 'Mein Kampf,' which is terrible and really long. I watched a lot of filmed interviews from him in the 1970s. He was on a couple episodes of 'Donahue' in the early 80s. And that was really interesting to watch."

Grace explained, "I kind of picked up what was so evil about him. He's kind of good with a crowd so it's not surprising he went into politics in the mid-1980s. In the movie he stays in three-piece suits. He would never be seen in a hood, he rebranded racism."

Grace has never spoken to Duke, nor does he want to hear Duke's thoughts on his portrayal: "I don't want to ever have a conversation with that man."