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Forest Whitaker Replaces Djimon Hounsou To Star Opposite Orlando Bloom in Crime Drama 'Zulu'

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 11, 2012 6:08 PM
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Forest Whitaker

We missed this switch apparently... although I haven't seen an official announcement of it, nor any press releases in my inbox.

But, from available info, it looks like Forest Whitaker is replacing Djimon Hounsou to star alongside Orlando Bloom in French director Jérôme Salle's Zulu, which is based on French author Caryl Férey’s award winning crime novel of the same name.

Recapping... Set against the backdrop of post-apartheid South Africa, Whitaker (formerly Hounsou) and Bloom will play two South African police officers on opposing sides of the apartheid divide, who work together to fight crime.

Here's the film 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, Brian Epkeen. Now Whitaker will play Ali Neuman.

Director Salle has has already penned the script adaptation with principal photography now scheduled to begin towards the end of this month, on location in Cape Town, South Africa.

Reviews of the novel I read online were all very strong. Tamara Brown, who alerted me to this casting change also wrote a Book-To-Film report on this project, which you can read HERE.

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  • Odira Ononye | November 1, 2012 12:07 PMReply

    I DO NOT understand what and WHY you would replace Djimon an actor who has already earned his stripes to act with the big dogs and then replace him with I a guy who already has won multiple oscars this could be Djimon's ticket and you push him back because ya'll don't know what to do With A 3rd world full-blooded AFRICAN actor is that what it is? If I'm wrong please tell me is there not one single film director in that your hollywood that can showcase him instead of tapping him in to do another think like a man clone (movie was alright by the way) WHY, WHY, WHY The director of all people should know the name itself was relating UGH!!

  • Adam Scott Thompson | September 12, 2012 9:46 AMReply

    Sounds interesting.

  • Sterling Ferguson | December 20, 2012 11:20 PM

    The producer of this film is looking at the bottom line and how much money this movie will make with Whitaker. The people that put up the money to make this movie are the ones that demand a known star to be in this movie. Maybe, you don't like an ex-slave to be in this movie and want a pure African but, you have to put your money where your mouth is.

  • Tamara | September 12, 2012 9:24 PM

    It was a great read. I'm anticipating how they will adapt the work.

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