HBO has officially released the first arresting trailer for its upcoming docuseries, Exterminate All the Brutes, which takes an unflinching and deconstructing look at European colonialism throughout history and its lingering impact on society today. The series comes from award-winning filmmaker Raoul Peck, whose movie I Am Not Your Negro, about the life of novelist James Baldwin, was nominated for an Oscar in 2017.
The trailer immediately provides a sense of the weaving format this genre-bending docuseries will equip — archival images interspersed with documentary footage, as well as new scripted scenes that will offer up a storyline that merges both fiction and truth. Josh Hartnett (Penny Dreadful, Black Hawk Down) plays the lead role in the scripted portions of the series, which tells a counternarrative to white colonialist history beginning in the Crusades and continuing through to the 45th U.S. presidency.
“As writers, creators, filmmakers we have no choice but to try and reflect our societies and give some sort of analysis of them the best way we can,” Peck said in a statement. “And as artists, we need to break the limits of our art.”
The series is based on three works — Sven Lindqvist’s Exterminate All the Brutes, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz‘s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States and Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past. It is produced by Velvet Film, written and directed by Peck, and executive produced by Peck and Rémi Grellety. Sara Rodriguez produces for HBO with executive producers Lisa Heller and Nancy Abraham.
Exterminate All the Brutes will debut on HBO with two back-to-back episodes on April 7 at 9 p.m. ET, with the final two episodes airing back-to-back at the same time on April 8. All four episodes of the series will be available to stream on HBO Max on April 7 to coincide with its linear premiere. Watch the trailer below.