Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch: Tyler Perry Previews 'The Passion' 2-Hour Musical Event in New Orleans Watch: Tyler Perry Previews 'The Passion' 2-Hour Musical Event in New Orleans Before Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film Is Released, Get Prepped By Watching Charles Burnett's 2003 Documentary Before Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film Is Released, Get Prepped By Watching Charles Burnett's 2003 Documentary There Is a Precedent for the "DuVernay Test" to Consider... There Is a Precedent for the "DuVernay Test" to Consider... Idris Elba Makes SAG Awards History + Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Queen Latifah Collect Trophies Idris Elba Makes SAG Awards History + Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Queen Latifah Collect Trophies Ryan Coogler to Deliver Prestigious University of Chicago Kent Lecture Feb. 9 Ryan Coogler to Deliver Prestigious University of Chicago Kent Lecture Feb. 9 First-Look at David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in Amma Asante's 'A United Kingdom' First-Look at David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in Amma Asante's 'A United Kingdom' Poster: Mike Epps, Paul Mooney, Charlie Murphy Comedy-Thriller 'Meet the Blacks' Poster: Mike Epps, Paul Mooney, Charlie Murphy Comedy-Thriller 'Meet the Blacks' Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting

Forest Whitaker Reveals Plot Specifics For "The Butler" + Talks Kony Project & More...

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 9, 2012 at 4:38PM

Was reading THIS Vanity Fair profile of Forest Whitaker and picked up some items worth repeating here on S&A; specifically about projects Whitaker is attached to star in/direct.
4
Forest Whitaker

Was reading THIS Vanity Fair profile of Forest Whitaker and picked up some items worth repeating here on S&A; specifically about projects Whitaker is attached to star in/direct.

First, The Butler - Lee Daniels' drama based on Eugene Allen, an African American who worked as a butler in the White House for over 34 years, serving 8 presidents from 1952 to 1986.

All we've really known about the project is what I wrote in the last sentence, and many of you have expressed your disatisfaction with seeing another film about a black person in a "service" position. 

By the way, it's inspired by a 2008 Washington Post article by Wil Haygood titled A Butler Well Served by This Election (read it HERE); it pretty much summarizes Mr Allen's many years of service in the White House, leading up to President Obama's election.

In the Vanity Fair piece, here's what I think is a crucial bit of info on the project that I haven't seen reported anywhere until now; Whitaker states:

“It’s a movie about the issue of how you protest... My son [to be played by David Oyelowo] is an activist who is repeatedly arrested. My character is a conformist, but in his own way, he influences presidents. Eugene becomes more active, particularly at the end of his life, when he makes a decision to fight.”

So that tells me it's not just a biopic covering Allen's almost 3 dozen years of life in the White House; and I did wonder why David Oyelowo was cast as his son, thinking at the time that the role would be relatively minor, and it would be all about the title character Whitaker will play in the film.

Reads like it'll maybe be more of a struggle between generations on how to deal with the racism blacks experienced in this country over those 34 years - the pacifist older father's approach versus the rebellious younger son's radicalism. And eventually, the father maybe comes over to the son's side of things, or they meet each other in the middle.

 I think this makes it more intriguing - to me anyway - than just a visual documentation of Allen's presidential term-to-term life as a White House butler. 

The script is said to be done, and the cast is mostly in place with Oprah Winfrey "in talks" to play Allen's/Whitaker's wife, Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan, John Cusack rumored as Richard Nixon, and Liam Neeson also rumored as Lyndon B. Johnson.

The Vanity Fair piece goes on to mention Whitaker's post-The Butler plans, like Better Angels, which deals with child soldiers in the north of Uganda, and a conflict journalist.

Per Whitaker:

"The movie asks, When is the right time to step in?... The journalist gets captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army and is taken to a camp where he finds their leader, Joseph Kony, who hasn’t been seen for years.”

So who's going to play Kony? Inquiring minds want to know.

Also, the sequel to Waiting to Exhale: he's waiting for a script, and isn't sure what to do in the absence of Whitney Houston. Recall the rumor that Oprah might replace her in the sequel...

And the rest of his upcoming roles, calling them "really dark characters":

Whitaker is also due to play an Arizona parole officer in Bill’s Law and has already wrapped The Truth (with Eva Longoria and Andy Garcia), Freelancers (with 50 Cent and Robert De Niro), Vipaka (with Anthony Mackie), Pawn (with Nikki Reed), and The Last Stand (with Arnold Schwarzenegger).

He’s pushing ahead with his dream of directing and starring in Satchmo, in which he’d play Louis Armstrong. “I don’t know what it is about his spirit that makes you smile,” said Whitaker, who played Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood’s Bird. “But he was just extraordinary. My first instrument was a French horn, so if you give me a trumpet, I could play it.” Nicholas Pileggi has taken over for Ron Bass on the script, which Whitaker said won’t neglect the fact that “Louis enjoyed pot every day.”

Whitaker is also attached to Roland Joffe’s The Archbishop and the Antichrist, in which the husky, six-foot-two actor would play chirping, five-foot-two clergyman Desmond Tutu.

So, dude is busy, right? 

He's been talking about that Louis Armstrong project for a little while now (see my post earlier today on the 50+ biopics of black public figures in limbo HERE); but this is the first I'm hearing about the inclusion of Satchmo's daily pot habit; I'll duck to avoid the flying tomatoes :)

Onward Mr Whitaker... onward...

You can read the full Vanity Fair piece HERE.

This article is related to: Forest Whitaker


Shadow & ActNewsletter