Written, directed and starring the Beyond The Lights actor, the historical drama is based on the largely glossed over story of Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion, which resulted in 55-65 white deaths, 100-200 black deaths, and Turner’s hanging.
Along with Armie Hammer (The Social Network), the film will star Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away With Murder), Aunjanue Ellis (The Book of Negroes), Colman Domingo (Selma), Dwight Henry (12 Years a Slave), Roger Guenveur Smith (Empire State) and Gabrielle Union (Being Mary Jane). Roles have not been revealed just yet.
“I couldn’t be more honored to tell the story of one of America’s greatest heroes,” said Nate. “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.”
The Birth of a Nation was the recipient of a fellowship with the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program last year.
It will be produced by 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, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Preston Holmes and Nate as well.
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 will serve as executive producers.
Shooting will begin in mid-May 2015 in Savannah, Georgia, and a 2016 release date is likely.
The most notable film project about Turner so far is Charles Burnett‘s 2003 documentary, Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property, which aired on PBS in 2004.
A previous version of this article stated that Nate Parker is associated with Bron Studios. He is not.