“It was kind of frightening to come across the script in 2017 and have it bear such a strong and unfortunate resemblance to the events that we’ve seen all too recently, as far as police brutality is concerned, and innocent people of color dying at the hands of law enforcement,” Will Poulter said at Deadline’s The Contenders London event of Detroit, the latest minutely observed historical drama from Oscar winners Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal.

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Set during the 1967 Detroit riots, the film sees a group of rogue police officers enacting vicious mental and physical brutality on a group of African American men and several women, leaving three dead. Of the officers seen in the film, there is none more brutal than Poulter’s Krauss, a composite character of three men at the scene, only one of whom is still alive.

With the brutality of the situations depicted in the film, Poulter couldn’t help but be affected on a visceral, human level, as his character attempted to extract a confession for a crime that never happened. “Jacob Latimore, who I do unspeakable things to in the film, is one of my closest friends, and when he’s in front of me, begging for his life, it’s hard not to feel incredibly impacted by that,” Poulter said. “But that just speaks to the power of his performance.”

Check out more of Poulter’s conversation with AwardsLine’s Joe Utichi above.