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First-Look At Forest Whitaker, Orlando Bloom In S. African Crime Drama 'Zulu' + Berlinale Preview Set

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 28, 2013 1:14 PM
2 Comments
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Forest Zulu

Currently in post-production, here's your first official look at Forest Whitaker and Orlando Bloom (photo above and photo below) in the Cape Town, South Africa-set crime drama Zulu, which is based on French author Caryl Férey’s award winning crime novel of the same name.

The film is being directed by French helmer Jérôme Salle -  his first film in English.

Also worth noting is that the film will be 1 of 5 films that Pathé International will screen previews of for distributors at the European Film Market at the 63rd Berlinale early next month.

Recapping... Set against the backdrop of post-apartheid South Africa, Whitaker (in a role that was initially assigned to Djimon Hounsou) and Bloom play two South African police officers on opposing sides of the apartheid divide, who work together to fight crime.

Here's the production company's description of the filmed version of the novel:

As a child, Ali Neuman narrowly escaped being murdered by Inkhata, a militant political party at war with Nelson Mandela's African National Congress. Only he and his mother survived the carnage of those years. But as with many survivors, the psychological scars remain. Today, Ali is chief of the homicide branch of the South African police in Cape Town. One of his staff is Brian Epkeen, a free-wheeling white officer whose family was originally involved in the establishment of apartheid but who works well with Neuman. Together they have to deal with crime that inevitably exists in sprawling areas of un -and under- employed people, crime exacerbated by gangs, both local and from other parts of Africa. Their job gets even more difficult when the corpses of two young women are found. A new evil has been introduced in the city and a new drug has been introduced to its residents, including both murder victims. At the chaotic crossroads where brutality and modernization collide, the echoes of apartheid still resound in the shadows of a society struggling toward reconciliation.

When this was first announced in February, Djimon was to play Ali Neuman, and Bloom as Brian Epkeen. Now Whitaker is playing Ali Neuman.

Director Salle is directing from his own script adaptation of a novel that has been reviewed fairly well. Last year, Tamara Brown wrote a Book-To-Film report on this project for S&A, which you can read HERE.

The film is a French/English/South African co-production by Pathé, M6 Films, and Lobster Film.

French film composer Alexandre Desplat is scoring the film. Desplat has received four Academy Award nominations, five BAFTA nominations, five Golden Globe nominations, and two Grammy nominations. Among various projects, Desplat has worked on a variety of Hollywood films including independent and commercial successes like The QueenThe Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonFantastic Mr. FoxMoorise KingdomZero Dark ThirtyArgoThe King's Speech, and many others.

I'm looking forward to seeing some footage from this, and hope that the promo being screened for distributors at the Berlinale will eventually make its way to the web.

Here's the second photo:

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2 Comments

  • Tamara | February 15, 2013 10:32 AMReply

    Mercy! how did i miss this! Thanks for the update Tambay!

  • Tamara | February 15, 2013 10:35 AM

    I hope the viewpoint is kept in perspective in accordance with the book. Both Ali and Brian had narrative duties, however I do feel that it's more Ali's story...but just by a tiny stretch.

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