The Nate Parker comeback train is in motion.
The formerly embattled writer-director-star, who captivated Hollywood in 2016 with his film “The Birth of a Nation,” then went radio silent following a scandal over an acquitted rape case, has booked a new project.
Parker will direct the indie film “Black & Blue,” about unsung African American detective Ralph Waddy. The incredible life story follows an LAPD sleuth with a hand in iconic American events like the Watts riots, the Robert Kennedy assassination and the Manson Murders.
Singer-actor Macy Gray is also in talks to star and assist with the original score, an individual familiar with the project told TheWrap.
In addition to directing, Parker is polishing a script by Jim McGrath. Actress Shondrella Avery will star and produce with Steven Jensens’ ForM.B Entertainment. Darren Enenstein, Adam R. Sanders and Lenny Rosenberg will also produce.
Over the past two years ago — amid the #OscarsSoWhite movement — Parker’s “Birth” took the Sundance Film Festival by storm … and sold for a jaw-dropping $17.5 million to Fox Searchlight. At the time, it was considered a prohibitive favorite to win Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards.
However in the months following, as the awards campaign kicked off and the film prepared to roll out at the Toronto International Film Festival, Parkers’ well-documented college rape case reemerged in press after the revelation of his accuser’s suicide. Awards talk quickly fell apart and the film disappointed at the box office.
“Black & Blue” will mark something of a return for Parker. The film does not yet have a domestic distributor.
The deal was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.