Director Nate Parker is hoping he can move past the controversy of three years ago as he seeks to make a comeback following his controversial comments he made about the rape charge he faced as a college student.
“The last three years have been such a learning experience for me,” he said at a press conference for his new film, the police-brutality drama American Skin. “I feel like I have gained so much wisdom from people in my circle,” he added.
A scandal surfaces
Back in 2016, Parker was gearing up to drop his hotly anticipated debut feature, the Nat Turner biopic The Birth of a Nation, but the release was overshadowed by a salacious Variety article which detailed the actor’s 17-year-old rape case for which he was acquitted. Making matters worse were Parker’s comments about the case and the alleged victim who committed suicide years after the incident, which many found callous.
“Three years ago I was pretty tone deaf to the realities of certain situations that were happening in the climate. And I’ve had a lot of time to think about that, and I’ve learned a lot from it,” Parker said during the presser in Venice. “And being tone deaf, there were a lot of people that were hurt in my response, in the way I approached things. I apologize to those people.”
Parker’s The Birth of a Nation was the talk of the town in 2016 and was acquired by Fox Searchlight in a record $17.5 million deal at Sundance, but when news resurfaced that Parker has been charged with raping a white women as a college student, the film tanked at the box office.
What Parker learned
“I’ve learned, I’m continuing to learn,” he said Sunday. “I’m 39 years old now. Hopefully I have a long way to go. The hope is that I can continue taking the wisdom from people who care enough…and help me to be introspective about where I am and what I’ve been through.”
Parker plays a Marine veteran janitor who takes a police precinct hostage and holds a mock trial while the inmates serve as the jury. Sources likened the movie to “12 Angry Men,” the outlet reports.
The film held its premiere at the 76th Venice International Film Festival, which is scheduled to run August 28 to September 7.