Nate Parker Recruits Aunjanue Ellis, Gabrielle Union And More For ‘Birth Of a Nation’Posted by Wilson Morales
April 10, 2015
Actor Nate Parker has recruited Aunjanue Ellis, Gabrielle Union, Colman Domingo, Dwight Henry, Roger Guenveur Smith, and “How to Get Away With Murder” star Aja Naomi King for his directorial debut, ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ joining the previous added Armie Hammer.
The film will be a biopic of African-American slave turned revolutionary Nat Turner, who led a bloody rebellion in 1831 and went down in history as one of the most controversial American figures preceding the Civil War.
Ellis will play Nancy Turner (Nat’s mother). Domingo will play Hark, Nat’s best friend turned first lieutenant in the rebellion, while Union plays his wife, Ester. Hammer will play Samuel Turner, the son of Nat’s first master Benjamin Turner. Shooting will start in mid-May in Savannah, Ga.
Parker, who will also write the script and star as Turner, is developing the film through a fellowship with the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. A Norfolk, Virginia native, Nate grew up less than 30 miles from the site of Turner’s unprecedented slave rebellion.
Turner, born in 1800, led the famously violent Virginia insurrection that moved from plantation to plantation freeing slaves and left 60 white men, women, and children dead. He was later captured, arrested, and hanged but his legacy grew to mythic proportions.
“I couldn’t be more honored to tell the story of one of America’s greatest heroes,” said Parker. “A man whose actions rocked the nation, further precipitating the Civil War and emancipation for Americans of African descent. Nat Turner’s rebellion and message of resistance not only compels us to stand in the face of iniquity but also shines light on a critical moment in our history.”
Production companies include Bron Studios, Phantom Four, Mandalay Pictures and Tiny Giant Prods. in association with Follow Through Prods., Infinity Entertainment and Creative Wealth Media Finance. Producers are Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Parker, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman and Preston Holmes.
Further casting is now underway led by Mary Vernieu and Michelle Wade Byrd of Betty Mae, Inc. (Fury, American Hustle). An incredible team has come on board the picture, including Director of Photography Elliot Davis (Twilight, The Iron Lady), Production Designer Geoffrey Kirkland, (Children of Men) and Costume Designer Francine Jamison-Tanchuck (Glory, Courage Under Fire).
Executive producers are David Goyer, Mike Novogratz, Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Jason Cloth, Jane Oster, Barb Lee, Carl Lindner, Derrick Brooks, Ryan and Jill Ahrens, Armin Tehrany and Mark Moran.