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Jeffrey Wright In Talks To Play Bishop Carlton Pearson In Jonathan Demme-Directed Biopic (Oscar?)

by Tambay A. Obenson
May 27, 2014 11:23 AM
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J Wright, C Pearson

It's quite incredible to think that an actor of Jeffrey Wright's caliber has yet to be nominated for the highest honor in the film industry, the Academy Award. He's been recognized by the Emmys, the Tonys, and the Golden Globes, winning trophies in all 3 cases. But an Oscar nomination (forget about the "winning" part), which would complete his march towards E.G.O.T., has eluded him thus far. 

Maybe this will be the role that finally puts him squarely in Academy voters' sights, whenever it's eventually completed and released in theaters.

It certainly has the makings of a potentially award-attracting project, given the story, as well as the other talent involved.

Mr Wright is in talks to play renowned Tulsa, OK evangelical minister Carlton Pearson, who stirred up controversy some years ago, with his revelation that, essentially, there is no hell. Branded a heretic by his peers in 2004, Pearson would eventually lose almost everything, and would have to fight to not only rebuild his church, but also his family, as well as find and establish his own personal path.

Tentatively titled Come Sunday (it's also known as Heretics), the film will be directed by a filmmaker who's no stranger to acclaim himself, Jonathan Demme, from a script penned by Marcus Hinchey

Also, Robert Redford is in talks to play Oral Roberts in the film - the connection there being that Pearson attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, where he was mentored by Oral Roberts. 

Pearson's life story was the subject of an episode of the Chicago Public Radio program This American Life that was first broadcast on December 16, 2005. The episode, titled "Heretics," is also the real-life account that the screenplay will be based on. Below you'll find the "Heretics" episode of This American Life embedded below for you to listen to.

Endgame's James D. Stern is producing Come Sunday alongside This American Life's Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp

Color Force's Brad Simpson is executive producing. Julie Goldstein and Lucas Smith are overseeing the project for Endgame.

A spring 2015 production start date is eyed, for what will likely be a late 2015 release, if only for Oscar eligibility. Of course it's all just speculation on my part.  

Wrigh recently appeared in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Only Lovers Left Alive.

Catch up on Pearson's story below:

This American Life

Originally aired 12.16.2005

304: Heretics

The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson, a renowned evangelical pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who cast aside the idea of Hell, and with it everything he'd worked for over his entire life.
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  • DawnDuhDuh | May 27, 2014 8:20 PMReply

    The "G" in E.G.O.T. stands for GRAMMY.

  • Eddie Goines | May 27, 2014 6:32 PMReply

    Jeffrey Wright- one of the best!

  • AC | May 27, 2014 4:19 PMReply

    This sounds like a provocative film. I remember Bishop Pearson's Azusa Conferences growing up. He was T.D. Jakes, before there was a T.D. Jakes. He was also educated at ORU, so his congregation was very inter-racial. I think it's sad what happened to him. I respect him, he wasn't crazy he was courageous. He came up with biblical and philosophical proof that Hell may not exist, and that ministers should not preach that one should live right to avoid Hell. He felt they should live right to one day see God. Among, other things. But anywho.... Jeffrey Wright's gonna nail this part, like he always does.

  • Derrick | May 27, 2014 3:47 PMReply

    The G is for Grammy. The idea is that the EGOT awards cover the four entertainment arts (represented by the four guilds): television, music, movies, and theater. It’s not just about acting. One can win any of these awards for other categories within the craft. Golden Globes, which cover movies and television, would be a redundancy to include in the four. And GG are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (generally reporters) and not one of the entertainment unions.

  • jane | May 27, 2014 12:49 PMReply

    The G in EGOT is for Grammy.

  • Randy Lewis | May 29, 2014 1:53 AM

    DJ, it is surprising that you mentioned Denzel, both he and Meryl Streep are scheduled to make cameos in the movie (Come Sunday). Inside info...

  • DG | May 27, 2014 3:41 PM

    Grammy's are also given for narration, spoken word, poems, and if actors have a part in a sountrack to a movie. For example, if Denzel Wshington narrates an audiobook, he could receive a Grammy.

  • Wut? | May 27, 2014 1:55 PM

    How on God's green earth would that begin to make sense? 3 awards are for acting, but the forth is primarily an award for singers-songwriters-producers. I'm sure even if "Grammy" was the "G", a Golden Globe can be considered as well.

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