Will Nate Parker’s Past Follow As He Makes A Return To The Big Screen?

August 12, 2019  |  

69th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards - Arrivals

Source: Jason LaVeris / Getty

Actor and director Nate Parker remained in obscurity after his 2016 film, Birth of A Nation, fell under the scrutiny of a past alleged rape scandal stemming from Parker’s college days, where he was ultimately acquitted.

Now, Parker is returning to Hollywood with the release of his upcoming film, American Skin which will soon premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Parker serves as the lead actor and director in the movie, which follows the journey of a veteran Marine turned janitor who takes justice into his own hands after his son is fatally shot by a police officer, according to Variety.

“Seeking justice, Parker’s character takes a police precinct hostage and holds a mock trial, with inmates serving as the jury. The film was shot in March and April in Los Angeles, with cooperation from the police. Sources close to the project say the film evokes a “12 Angry Men” vibe, and while it is politically charged, it is not “anti-cop,” Variety writes.

Actors Omari Hardwick, Larry Sullivan, Theo Rossi and Beau Knapp will star in the film. Mark Burg (of the Saw franchise) and controversial producer, Tarak Ben Ammar (Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ) are also attached as producers. Ammar was also an investor and board member of the Weinstein Co., which notoriously fell under the accusations of its founder, Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of numerous instances of sexual assault and harassment.

Oscar-winner and veteran director Spike Lee called American Skin “a brave tour de force” and will also host a Q&A with Parker after the screening.

Birth of A Nation, helmed as an Oscar shoe-in, quickly faded behind the headlines of Parker’s accusations which focused on 1999 case where he was accused of raping a white female classmate while they were students at Penn State University. The questions surrounding Parker’s involvement became tense due to the actor’s tone-deaf responses, and after it was discovered that the classmate later committed suicide.

Ahead of the #MeToo movement, Parker’s accusations caused much debate regarding campus rape culture and our own collective understanding of sexual assault, race and class. Many, including Women in Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein, spoke out against the festival’s decision to premiere Parker’s film.

“Why do we set these festivals up on a pedestal if they just continue to make these horrific decisions?” she said. “Clearly people are giving this man money to tell his stories when there are many people who can’t raise any money for their stories.”

The film’s producers are currently looking to shop the film to movie houses and streaming platforms for an official launch date sometime in the fall.

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