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John Boyega to film Detroit riots movie in Michigan

Kathryn Bigelow on locationStar Wars actor John Boyega has joined the cast of Kathryn Bigelow’s upcoming film about the infamous Detroit riots of 1967, which plans to shoot partly in Michigan.

Forty-three people died in Detroit over five days of rioting in the city that was sparked by a police raid on an unlicensed liquor bar. The army was sent in to help local authorities in what became one of the worst instances of mass violence in US history.

While Bigelow (pictured) and her team are planning to shoot scenes in Detroit for the as-yet-untitled movie, it’s likely that Boston will also be used as a stand-in because Michigan no longer offers filming incentive support. 

“We are going to be shooting in Detroit and we're going to try to shoot as much as we possibly can there,” said Colin Wilson, a line producer on the film, in comments to the Detroit Free Press. 

“Since the tax credit stopped, there has been a migration of local talent moving away from Detroit and going to other film centres, whether it's in Georgia or other places, because there has not been enough work without tax credits to sustain a strong crew base.”

Michael Bay’s action sequel Transformers: The Last Knight is also shooting in Detroit over the next few weeks and is supported by a $20m filming incentive payment that was agreed with Michigan before the tax credit was stopped.

Transformers is in fact a challenge for Bigelow’s smaller shoot as many local crew are employed on Bay’s bigger studio production.

Detroit recently hosted Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, while the new Transformers movie is the fourth in the franchise to shoot in the city. However, Michigan’s future as a location filming hub looks uncertain without the benefit of tax credit support. 

For more on filming in Michigan see our production guide.