Despite a brief synopsis, we’re still uncertain as to what to expect from Spike Lee‘s “Red Hook Summer.” It looks and feels a lot different than Lee’s previous offerings, but while it features “Do The Right Thing” protagonist Mookie in a small role, it will likely be a standalone piece from his breakthrough film. We sat down with one of the film’s stars, Nate Parker, during press for “Red Tails,” and he revealed a few tidbits about the production.
“It’s about an eleven year old boy from Atlanta who comes to live with his grandfather, who is a minister,” explains Parker. “I play a gang member, someone who’s fallen away from the church. I used to be under the tutelage of this church. I try to pull him away in the way that I was pulled away.” To Parker, the role, like his historically significant one in “Red Tails,” is important in establishing his ties to his community. When discussing the reasons why he took on both projects, which deal with the significance of a black character’s roots, Parker explains, “We’re hungry to know who we are, because we have this identity crisis as black people in America, because we don’t get to see our history that often. Because it’s not in the curriculum of school, you hear about it, but you don’t know.”
Parker also has a small role in the upcoming thriller “Arbitage,” where he co-stars with Richard Gere. “I play a conflicted character put in a tight moral positon by Richard Gere,” he says. “And I have to choose between loyalty towards him, or the right thing to do. It’s an intense thriller, like an old-school, Michael Douglas thriller.”
Both “Red Hook Summer” and “Arbitage” premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month. “Red Tails” opens on January 20th.