[Movies] Forest Whitaker To Star In Black Nativity Posted by Joseph Lee on 11.29.2012
A gospel musical...
Black Film reports that Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) has signed on to star in Kasi Lemmons' musical Black Nativity. The film will begin production in late January 2013. He will be joined by Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls). Fox Searchlight will distribute.
The Hollywood Reporter said that the studio shut the film down in October due to a lack of a black male lead to carry the film. Samuel L. Jackson backed out and Laurence Fishburne turned it down. Sources told Black Film that Jackson was never on board to begin with.
Here's a synopsis: ‘Black Nativity' tells the story of a teenage boy from Baltimore who is sent by his single mother to Harlem to spend Christmas with the grandparents he's never met. Through his grandfather's Christmas Eve sermon, he learns about the importance of faith and family.
Hudson will play the mother who hasn't spoken to her father since they had problems after she got pregnant. Bassett and Whitaker will play the boy's grandparents, Rev. Clarence and Aretha Cobbs. Whitaker will play multiple characters during the Nativity sequence. Lemmons will write and direct the film, based on Langston Hughes' gospel musical that was first performed on Broadway in 1961. Casting director Tracy "Twinkie" Byrd is putting together the rest of the cast. Production will run from January to March 2013 in New York City. Bill Horberg and Celine Rattray will produce with Galt Niederhoffer and Daniela Taplin Lundberg, while Joy Goodwin will executive produce.
Whitaker directed Bassett in the 1995 romantic comedy-drama Waiting to Exhale. It also starred Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine. Whitaker also played Hudson's father in the 2008 film Winged Creatures. He can next be seen in The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger on January 18. He recently finished work on Lee Daniels' film The Butler.