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We Got A Sneak Peak Of "The Hate U Give" Movie With Amandla Stenberg And KJ Apa

The film based on the hit young adult novel hits theaters this October.

Posted on June 23, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. ET

Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give made a big splash when it was published last year, as it was one of the most notable young adult novels to tackle the sensitive issues of race and police brutality.

Balzer + Bray

The book tells the story of Starr Carter, who lives in a fictional lower-income neighborhood that’s predominantly black, and goes to a private, suburban high school with mostly white students.

The coming of age story shows how Starr finds herself in the middle of a national news story after one of her closest childhood friends is shot and killed by a white police officer.

Starr witnesses the death and is at the center of a major court case, as well as national media attention, all while trying to navigate the different communities she’s a part of and finding her voice along the way.

Well, the The Hate U Give movie is coming to theaters on Oct. 19, starring Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) as Starr Carter and KJ Apa (Riverdale) as Starr's boyfriend, Chris.

Amandla Stenberg / Instagram

In April, it was announced that Apa would be replacing Kian Lawley, who was originally set to play the role of Chris but was fired after racist videos of him saying the n-word surfaced online.

BuzzFeed News can now reveal this exclusive first look at Apa and Stenberg together in the movie, as well as three other exclusive photos from The Hate U Give.

Erika Doss / 20th Century Fox

“It’s such an important film in this day and age,” Apa told BuzzFeed News.

“It’s a relatable story for anyone who has spent time trying to work out who they are or who they wish to become," he said.

"There are so many young people out there trying to figure out what they want, trying to figure out who they are, and I feel like through Starr’s story in the movie, we can really learn from that.”

Stenberg said that she knew that she was meant to play the story’s main character as soon as she read the novel.

“My mom is the one who actually found it for me,” Stenberg told BuzzFeed News on set during filming in October 2017. “She read it and thought, ‘This sounds exactly like you,’ so she passed it along to me and I immediately connected to the story because of its authenticity and its soul and its relevance.”

Stenberg said she has some things in common with Starr, like her relationship with her siblings, her Tumblr account, and the way she interacts with her friends.

Erika Doss / 20th Century Fox

But she also relates to the way the character code-switches in different environments.

Erika Doss / 20th Century Fox

“It felt kind of eerie reading the book," Stenberg said, "because I also grew up in a lower-income black neighborhood but then went to school an hour and a half away at a white private school where the perspective of the kids who were experiencing current news events, historical events, was completely different than how my black community was experiencing it."

“And at times I felt caught in between because they were both worlds I felt I could relate to, in a way," she said.

Erika Doss / 20th Century Fox

“Everything felt so visceral and close to home,” she said of reading the book.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.