The film, which stars Roger Guenveur Smith, portrays King, whose 1991 videotaped beating by the Los Angeles police led to riots when the officers were acquitted.
According to a statement from Netflix, Lee describes Smith’s performance as: “Like Mark Twain and many of our best storytellers, [Smith] is humanizing someone who’s been made into a demon, an animal, into less of a human being.”
Smith will also speak about the film during a live online discussion on Thursday evening with Sarah Bellamy, artistic director of the Penumbra Theatre of St. Paul, MN, which presents work exclusively by black artists and where Smith’s play was produced in 2015.
“Rodney King” was produced by Bob L. Johnson, a board member alongside Smith at L.A. Works, a nonprofit addressing hunger and homelessness.
Smith also won a 2015 Bessie Award for his performance as King.