Friday, March 6, 2015

Blair Underwood To Star As Nat Turner

Robinson Squared announces Nat Turner | Story of a Prophet, set to star Blair Underwood as Nat Turner, Lester Speight as Hark, Keith David as Nathanial Turner and Kendrick Lamar as the young Nat Turner.  Bridging generational gaps and historical divides to tell the true story of this man of God that has been perceived by many as a diabolical religious fanatic written and produced by the award-winning filmmaker Kenya Cagle.

Cagle with his passion for filmmaking and creative literary mind has aligned forces with Bruce L. Turner, one of the descendants of the Nat Turner family to bring the amazing talents of Blair Underwood, Lester Speight, Keith David, Kendrick Lamar and a host of other Black Hollywood stars to feature in the new motion picture Nat Turner | Story of a Prophet based on the best-selling, top-rated screenplay novel written by award-winning filmmaker to highlight the facts that the textbooks seem to omit. This film is about the greatest slave insurrection in United States history and will be directed by Hollywood veteran director Bill Duke.

Nat Turner led an insurrection that changed the course of American History and African American pride. This is not only a story from historical court records and books on the subject matter, but actually features elements from oral family history that Cagle received while interviewing Turner’s descendants. In a written statement, Bruce L. Turner, the great, great, great-grandson of Nat Turner, shared his praise for Mr. Cagle’s work stating, “Kenya Cagle has written an excellent depiction of my ancestor Nathanial "Nat" Turner.   His work has provided insight into Nat's well-known Christian beliefs that conflicted with the system of slavery that was so abundant throughout the south and gives the reader a sound explanation toward understanding why Nat Turner is a real Prophet.”

Cagle first became interested in Nat Turner when he co-starred in a Brooklyn production of a play called The MAAFA at St. Paul Community Baptist Church in 2004.  One of the characters briefly mentioned in the play was Nat Turner.  Kenya states that the idea of a motion picture was given to him by the Holy Spirit while on a ride home from rehearsal while in a car with a group of ministers.  Cagle states, “I was probably the most unsaved person in that car.  Why the Lord chose me, I would never know.  Over the next nine years, I would research and study about Nat Turner.  I gathered tons of information about him but was uncomfortable with it all.  Something was missing and I didn’t know what it was.”

Several months passed and Cagle's interest in Nat Turner would be lit once again.  At an American Black Film Festival (ABFF) actor’s workshop in 2013, Cagle connected with historian Robin D. Williams.  Williams, a professionally licensed educator with an advanced degree in American History stated, “After the workshop, everyone was gathering around Mr. Bill Duke.  I was going to him also, but something told me to introduce myself to Mr. Cagle.  So I followed the spirit. I found out that he was a screenwriter working on the feature film Nat Turner. It just so happened that I live about an hour from where the insurrection took place and was well aware of Nat Turner’s [true] story."

Williams came onboard and did the research for Mr. Cagle without numeration. Humbly revealing, "I corrected and tweaked his [Cagle's] information but most importantly, I interviewed descendants of both the slaves and slave owners.  By introducing Mr. Cagle to the Turner family, he was able to see what was missing from his story."  Further analysis revealed in the words of Williams, "It was Nat’s voice that was missing.  By talking directly to Nat’s descendants, Mr. Cagle found himself on the right track and by Nat’s birthday (October 2, 1800).”  Mr. Cagle went on to publish what would become the top rated and one of the best-selling projects on Nat Turner for over a year.

The motion picture is slated to begin production August, 2015 in Louisiana. Proceeding production of the film many events are scheduled to take place.  On February 18, 2015, a live reading will be performed at Medgar Evers College, in Brooklyn, New York at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.  This is a free reading to the community of the first act of his screenplay.  Tickets are free on a first come first served basis.  In addition, Mr. Bruce L. Turner will also be on hand to lecture and participate in Q and A discussion about his great, great, great-grandfather. A stage play of Prophet | The Story of Nat Turner will be held March 20th @ 7pm & on March 21st @ 2pm, taking place at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, 760 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn NY.

Nat Turner | Story of a Prophet. If you are interested in interviewing one of the directors, producers, talents of the upcoming film or to schedule a reading, or for more information please or e-mail the Robinsons at

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