Black-History Actor Bets on 'Arbitrage' Role

We spoke to Nate Parker, the Red Tails and Great Debaters star, about his latest film.

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TR: What's next for you?

NP: I'll be working with Spike Lee again in six weeks for a remake of the cult classic Oldboy, where I play a doctor that helps the two main characters in the film. Again, contemporary, but he's a doctor. And I'm happy about that because Spike called me and asked me to be in it, which is rare, because so many people in Hollywood don't really pass on opportunities like that.

And then after that, I am passionate about making a Nat Turner biopic, which is all I really care about right now in my career ... getting it off the ground, because it's an extremely important story for our community, and it's in many ways colorless, too, because it's about love, faith, redemption and triumph. Like Schindler's List or our Braveheart.

TR: Outside of acting, since Great Debaters, you've done a lot of work in black communities around the country. Can you expound on that?

NP: I still work with Brian Favors on my Leadership and Literacy Through Debate campaign in New York, so I go to Brooklyn every year to speak to the kids. And I'm setting up the Nate Parker Foundation, which will help create a platform that provides a rite of passage for young black males. The ultimate goal, if you ask me, is to eventually build institutions that provide culturally and historically relevant education to our young men and women.

Jean McGianni Celestin is a New York-based writer who writes on a number of topics including race, sports and politics. Follow him on Twitter.

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