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Ryan Coogler’s debut feature Fruitvale Station is belatedly getting a release in the U.K. The director was there this week for Sundance London, which hosted a screening of the film before a wider release in June. Coogler spoke with the media there about his film and his next project, the Rocky spin-off Creed.
Fruitvale Station was released in the U.S. last year and earned Coogler and his star, Michael B. Jordan, critical acclaim. They brought to life the story of Oscar Grant, an Oakland man shot and killed by a BART police officer on New Year’s Eve 2008.
While speaking with Digital Spy, Coogler, an Oakland native himself, explained why he picked that subject as his first film. He was in film school when it happened and began seeing himself in that situation.
“I imagined myself in that situation, and that's when you really get affected by something, and that's when I started to think about how the media was covering the situation, and how Oscar was portrayed afterwards,” the director told Digital Spy. “People kind of took sides, and nobody was really talking about who he was as a person. And those things made me start thinking, hey, maybe I should make a movie about that.”
Coogler also responded to critics who said he painted a “rosy” picture of Grant. He said that in the film, he made sure to show him argue with his mother and girlfriend and even his time in jail.
Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter got an update from Coogler on MGM's Creed, which was announced back in July 2013. The film will focus on the life of Apollo Creed, Rocky Balboa’s rival, and Creed’s family. Sylvester Stallone approved of the project and has even agreed to appear in it.
“It was an idea I took to them and met with [Sylvester] Stallone for his blessing,” Coogler told THR. “It's a universal story about family, so I hope it'll fly.”
Fruitvale Station finally opens in the U.K. on June 6.