Nate Parker, the star and director of The Birth of a Nation, got very emotional while talking about the tough journey he endured to get the Nat Turner biopic made.
During an NABJ/NAHJ conference panel, Parker shared how the film was under constant threat of being shut down by a film production bond company. Parker explained they filmed 27 days on a 40-day shoot with a $8 million budget. They had no money and no time, so “everything you see is a miracle.”
While working on Birth of a Nation, he was asked what would happen if rain cost him a day of filming on an already strained production budget. “It’s not going to rain,” he said in response to the question.
On the day it was forecast to rain, the filmmaker said he “prayed it away.”
Parker told those in attendance that if they lost that day, the film would be taken away as a result of the bond with the insurance company.
He recalled thinking, “Lord you didn’t bring me here for this … we’re two weeks in and we’re going to lose the movie because it’s raining. We can’t control this, it’s on you.”
Parker continued, “I walked out into the middle of the field … and I looked up and I said, ‘God show your power.’”
At this point, the critically acclaimed filmmaker got emotional and said, “When you see this film, it’s not a film about possibility, about what’s possible. It’s a film about believing that if it’s in God’s purpose, that nothing is impossible.
“It’s not about doing what’s expected, what is easy and what job can be passed on to people so they might achieve it. It’s about saying if I don’t have the money I need, the time I need, I definitely can’t control the weather, so I have to strip myself down, take a knee in front of all these people and hold you accountable to what you told me you wanted me to do.
“So either it’s going to happen or I’m going to look really crazy,“ Parker said.
He later said, “I’m sure Nat Turner was looking crazy when he said he saw things in the sky so, I had to adopt his faith in so many instances.”
Watch Nate Parker and the cast of The Birth of a Nation discuss the journey to get the film done in the video clip above.
Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation opens in theaters this Friday.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
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