11 October 2019 15:50
Morris was inspired by the case of the Liberty City Seven back in 2006, when a daft Miami-based African-American cult called the Universal Divine Saviours fell victim to an FBI sting. Morris, our great exposer of fakery and self-deception, is enthralled by this story of how the FBI finds it easier to manufacture phony terrorists than capture real ones. The film opens with the claim that it is based "on hundreds of true stories", as though such mispractice is still a core FBI activity, but actually it remains all too closely modelled on the Liberty City Seven. They believe in Black Santa, Moses having received this inspiration the day God spoke to him through a duck — they do mock-duck exercises. They look forward to "the day of the great inversion" when the injustices suffered by the black man at the hands of the white man will be set right, but they do not tolerate guns, favouring toy crossbows.
Moses, about to be evicted for non-payment of rent, takes the cash and acquires a horse — but, disastrously for Kendra's scheme, rides it to FBI headquarters to report the guns and inform on himself. To be sure, Morris and his co-writer Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, In the Loop, Succession) have fitted out the FBI guys with inventively abusive lines of the kind that were to the point in The Thick of It, so there are some treats here for connoisseurs of swearing. "This plays like a pennywhistle jammed up an orangutan's butt," says an FBI pessimist. Almost a decade after Four Lions, Chris Morris, who undoubtedly fits that 'greatest minds' description, has chosen to tell a version of a terrifyingly true story to highlight the very personal cost of a politics that places spin ahead of principle. The Day Shall Come is, we are told, based on 100 true stories, and most closely the case of the Liberty City Seven, in which a terror cell accused of planning to bring down the Sears Tower in Chicago were actually a rag-bag of delusional, impoverished Haitian Catholics whose grand plan was to ride into the city on horseback.
The latest Chris Morris movie, The Day Shall Come, is an incendiary look at home-grown terrorism in the US and how the FBI are complicit in creating these terrorists - all so they can hit their targets. It's a movie based on hundreds of true stories and while it may not sound like it, it's a comedy - albeit one that has a nasty sting in its tale. Its star is a newcomer to movies but, after his portrayal of Moses (a small-town revolutionary targeted by the FBI)m Marchánt Davis is set to be a star. He's currently on Broadway starring in The Great Society at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, alongside Brian Cox ("He's one of those actors where you are like - that's how I want to be when I get to that place," say Davis) but we caught up with him recently and he explained to us just what it's like to work with Morris and on a film with such provocative subject matter. Here are 7 things to know - including how The Day Shall Come Was Made in secret and what it was like for Davis to watch Chris Morris' TV stuff for the first time.
2. The Day Shall Come was one big secret - even to the stars The information was on a need-to-know basis, but there were definite moments in filming when I was banging on his door and saying: 'I need to know, send me the script!' I didn't know anything until I needed to know. There was a point where I wanted to let people know I was doing something. I had people coming up and saying 'it's going to work out some day' and I'm like, 'I am working! It's happening!' You can say it all you want, but people won't believe you if there's nothing there." 5. Davis didn't know Morris' TV work before getting the part That's a surprising discovery Chris Morris (57) says he made while researching for the satirical thriller The Day Shall Come - his first film since 2010's acclaimed Four Lions. The black comedy - which Morris directed and also co-wrote with Jesse Armstrong - focuses on impoverished preacher Moses Al Shabaz, played by newcomer Marchant Davis. Moses is 'Sultan' of a mission called The Star of Six Farm, which he runs in the Miami projects with his wife Venus (played by Orange Is The New Black star, Danielle Brooks); he bans guns, fights crime and dreams of overthrowing the government. What first made Morris want to make this film? "I was watching a British TV news bulletin which reported that the FBI had arrested an army operating out of a warehouse in Miami that was planning a full-scale ground war against the US. The organisation don't know who's going to carry out the next attack, he reaffirms, but they "can see somebody who sticks out like a sore thumb" - and that's the story of Moses in The Day Shall Come. The FBI has "even come up with this new identity of black identity extremists", Morris adds, "which was in response to black people being shot by the police and then other black people protesting". "The FBI went, 'Shall we look at the white people? For Davis, who was less than a year out of drama school when he started filming The Day Shall Come, why he wanted this role was simple. "Chris Morris," he says. "I think his dedication to the people he was trying to put up on film was admirable for me, and he did a lot of work... It was 'empowering' for Davis to know the material in the film had been taken from real life. "There are stories being told about people and things that weren't told before, like The Central Park Five, and it's really exciting. The Day Shall Come is in cinemas now