Roger Guenveur Smith’s one-man show about Rodney King is getting a much larger stage. The actor’s performance at the East River Park Amphitheater in New York City is becoming a Netflix original film by way of director Spike Lee, EW has confirmed.
Smith has been performing Rodney King for the past few years, but the footage shot by Lee on the Aug. 12 performance is heading for the streaming platform on April 28, timed to the upcoming 25th anniversary of the state court acquittals of the four LAPD officers who were videotaped beating King in 1991.
King died in 2012 from drowning after struggling with alcoholism and drug abuse. During the height of the riots, he made a public statement in an attempt to quell the violence, asking, “People, I just want to say … can we all get along? Can we get along?”
Smith, who featured in Lee’s Do the Right Thing and Chi-Raq, is also executive producing Rodney King alongside Matthew Helderman, Luke Taylor, and Patrick DePeters. Steven Adams and Bob L. Johnson are producing.
The film is described as “a meditation on a flawed, goodhearted man and reveals America’s endlessly complicated relationship with its racial past and present.”
“I’m trying to take my audience on a journey of discovery, the same one that I’ve been on since I opened up my laptop on Father’s Day 2012 and saw that Rodney King had drowned in the bottom of his swimming pool,” Smith told Seattle newspaper The Stranger in an interview last year. “I was moved. I wanted to know why I was moved, and why, by extension, my potential audience would be moved.”
Watch a clip from King’s one-man show below.
The news was first reported by Variety.