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Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal Will Play 'Lost Boys' In America In 'The Good Lie'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
April 3, 2013 6:01 PM
11 Comments
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Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal

Refugees of the Second Sudanese Civil War will be front and center in a new feature film project that will star Reese Witherspoon.

Inspired by true events, and titled The Good Lie, according to the press release, the story will follow...

... a young refugee of the Sudanese Civil War who wins a lottery for relocation to the United States with three other lost boys. Encountering the modern world for the first time, they develop an unlikely friendship with a brash American woman assigned to help them, but the young men struggle to adjust to this new life and feelings of guilt about the brother left behind.

Witherspoon will play the brash American woman.

Playing the 3 refugees will be Ugandan-born actor Arnold Oceng (My Brother The Devil), South Sudanese actor, model and social activist, Ger Duany's (himself once a child soldier), and Emmanuel Jal, a South Sudanese musician and former child soldier as well.

The Good Lie will be directed by Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar) from a script by Margaret Nagle, and will be produced by Black Label Media, along with Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Karen Kehela Sherwood.

Shooting begins next week in Atlanta before heading to Africa (although no word on what country exactly - whether on location, or in a country that will be used as a stand-in). 

Alcon Entertainment will release the film via Warner Bros.

While I'm certainly pleased that these 3 young men will get to star in what appears to be a high profile Hollywood project, I'm frankly just not interested in this particular story, which we've seen in a variety of movie incarnations over the years. And in Hollywood's hands, who knows how they'll play it. Whose story will be central to the narrative, or through whose eyes will the story unfold? The character played by Reese Witherspoon, or the 3 young South Sudanese men?

Bah-humbug!

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11 Comments

  • THE TRUTH | June 23, 2014 5:36 PMReply

    Smells like any other "white folks save the day" movie, honestly...

    Dangerous Minds
    The Substitute
    The Blind Side
    & many others...

    Good luck with that.

  • Pats | June 20, 2014 9:39 PMReply

    I think the trailer, which just came out, is reinforcing what you said here. This appears to be a Reese Witherspoon vehicle and the others are just giving her background. Too bad.

  • Sardinia | April 8, 2013 3:38 AMReply

    This script if the story of the three young men and not the white characters. The script has been on the Blacklist and the writer spent years with Sudanese refuges learning their culture and stories. The wording of the press release is terrible and doesn't do the story justice in any way shape or form. This film will be great for the new country of South Sudan. Please Tambay Obenson don't diss this movie if you haven't read the script. It's so hard to get a movie like this made. It's taken ten years to raise the money. Snarky remarks in the media make it harder. Bless you.

  • BluTopaz | April 5, 2013 9:26 AMReply

    Bah humbug indeed. If there has to be any focus on the Westerner, it would be interesting to see this story with an African American in Witherspoon's role. There aren't many films that delve into the relationships between Africans and Black Americans.

    sidenote, Ger Duany is one of the most beautiful human beings I've ever seen. I could not handle him and Grace Jones in the same room together. And his life story is incredible, I'd rather watch his documentary than another H'wood flick where a White savior finds themselves via the struggle of a person of color.

  • ger | January 25, 2014 7:30 AM

    Thanks so much for a comment, i'll will be talking to u soon, cheers, gd

  • AMO | April 4, 2013 10:37 PMReply

    Casting of South Sudanese & Ugandan actors is great; but I agree with you that American media makers (doc makers especially, but no surprise it's going Hollywood) are a bit obsessed with re-telling this story many times over. No doubt that it will feature the 'white redeemer/white seeker of redemption' entry point so that white audiences can center themselves in the story.

  • Melanie | April 4, 2013 9:09 AMReply

    I think it's BRILLIANT. I am sure it will be more than just a pile of cliches, and what a wonderful opportunity for these two Sudanese and one Ugandan-born artists. WAY TO GO. I will be going to see the film with a vast contingent of friends. Frankly, the perils of displacement are not unique to travel between Africa and the US. I remember well my first encounter with a Japanese toilet. I was (almost) blown away.

  • Katie | April 3, 2013 9:42 PMReply

    *sigh* I hope this isn't a 'white person saves the day' type film. And what's this crap about them in the encountering into modern world? They have modern amenities like we do in Sudan. I hate how they try to portray Africans from the continent as backwards people with no technology. Forget this, this is why I stick with black web series and indie films.

  • K.Mo | April 4, 2013 3:22 PM

    Squeak, I'm sure you're correct about the situation with infrastructure etc. in South Sudan, but it also raised my hackles to once again, see Africa relegated to the polar opposite of "the modern world." Why do we define "modernity" solely in terms of "modern conveniences"? South Sudan exists in the year 2013, does it not?

  • Squeak | April 4, 2013 2:39 AM

    Oh Katie, ever been to Sudan? I'm sitting in Juba right now (which is now South Sudan). Its not exactly a buzzing hive of modernity. We don't have electricity, we have to have water delivered to the compound because there is no water system, we need to have our shit trucked out because there is no sewer system, and all our vegetable produce is brought in from Uganda because we are unable to produce our own agricultural products...I could go on. I consider myself one of the lucky ones .... alot people are not. Now turn back the clock some 10 or so years ago .... imagine you are a child soldier from a remote village ... how well do you think they would have been acquainted with 'the modern world'??

  • ALM | April 3, 2013 6:32 PMReply

    I can easily see why Ger is also a model. His bone structure is EVERYTHING! He definitely has the androgynous look down pat.

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