Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Does the 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Trailer Tease a Black Panther Introduction? Does the 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Trailer Tease a Black Panther Introduction? Watch New "Supertrailer" for 'Drumline: A New Beat' Watch New "Supertrailer" for 'Drumline: A New Beat' Watch Now: Baseball Phenom Mo'ne Davis Inspires in Spike Lee Doc 'I Throw Like A Girl' Watch Now: Baseball Phenom Mo'ne Davis Inspires in Spike Lee Doc 'I Throw Like A Girl' Watch: Racism Insurance - Coverage for White Privilege (For Everything, But the N-Word) Watch: Racism Insurance - Coverage for White Privilege (For Everything, But the N-Word) New Daytime Talkshow 'The FAB' w/ Tyra Banks, Chrissy Teigen, Joe Zee Coming to ABC New Daytime Talkshow 'The FAB' w/ Tyra Banks, Chrissy Teigen, Joe Zee Coming to ABC Watch: Everything Else You've Wanted to Know About 'The Wire' - Cast Reunites for Hour-Long Chat Watch: Everything Else You've Wanted to Know About 'The Wire' - Cast Reunites for Hour-Long Chat Sundance Institute Announces New Artist Development Programs Coming to 8 US Cities Sundance Institute Announces New Artist Development Programs Coming to 8 US Cities TV Series Based on Queen of Salsa's Celia Cruz is Underway; Puertorican Actors Jeimy Osorio & Modesto Lacen Star TV Series Based on Queen of Salsa's Celia Cruz is Underway; Puertorican Actors Jeimy Osorio & Modesto Lacen Star Weekend B.O. Oct.17-19 - How Did 'Dear White People' Do and What Might it Mean? Weekend B.O. Oct.17-19 - How Did 'Dear White People' Do and What Might it Mean? Trailer Debut: 'Black Dynamite' Season 2 Arrives Trailer Debut: 'Black Dynamite' Season 2 Arrives Review: 'Mike Tyson Mysteries' Proves That Iron Mike Isn't Afraid to Dress Himself Down Review: 'Mike Tyson Mysteries' Proves That Iron Mike Isn't Afraid to Dress Himself Down The Cast of 'Drumline: A New Beat' Talk How the Original Movie Impacted Them The Cast of 'Drumline: A New Beat' Talk How the Original Movie Impacted Them 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series 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...

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