Last month, we told you Nate Parker was attempting a comeback via a web series.
Now, he's been selected to direct a feature, his first project since his rape allegations and subsequent scandal.
Deadline, who exclusively reported the news, says Black & Blue will revolve around Ralph Waddy’s life, a true hero at the LAPD, during what was the most racially charged period in the city’s history as it dealt with the Watts riots, Robert Kennedy’s assassination at the Ambassador Hotel, the rise of the Black Panthers, the capture of the Skid Row Slasher and the Manson Murders (which Waddy connected to Charles Manson and his followers). Waddy was involved in investigating all of these and other high-profile crimes.
Photo from Jimmy Grayson, via Deadline
ForM.B Entertainment has Waddy's life rights. Steven Jensen for ForM.B. who will also produce along with Darren Enenstein, Shondrella Avery (who also will star in the film), Adam R. Sanders and Lenny Rosenberg. Production is set to begin in July.
In Deadline's report, the give a full, lengthy description of Waddy's life and work, which reads in part: Whether it was going undercover in the Black Panthers or finding the Skid-Row Slasher and even to the murders tied to the Manson family, no one (including his father) gave him the credit he earned and deserved. Waddy was so well respected in the force, that he inspired other men and women to become police officers." He died last August.
Parker's The Birth of a Nation, which had the biggest Sundance buy to-date with $17.5 million, ended up becoming a box office disappointment and soiled Oscar campaigns for the film as a whole, Parker himself and those of actresses Gabrielle Union and Aja Naomi King. The film went from being considered an Oscars sweep amid #OscarsSoWhite...to folding completely. Since this time, Parker has kept a low profile.
Parker, whose scandal predated #MeToo and #TimesUp by nearly two years, faced a slew of controversy from a 17-year-old rape case while he was a student-athlete at Penn State. His rape accuser went on to commit suicide. Parker was acquitted and has maintained that he was "unjustly charged." Union, who also starred in The Birth of a Nation and is also a sexual assault survivor, wrote a powerful LA Times essay in response to the controversy titled "I cannot take Nate Parker rape allegations lightly."