Forest Whitaker To Play Desmond Tutu In Roland Joffé's 'The Archbishop And The Antichrist'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
February 15, 2012 10:20 AM
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Could this be a return to Forest Whitaker's Oscar winning ways? At least on paper it seems so, as Screen Daily reports that the actor has lined up to play beloved activist and archbishop Desmond Tutu in Roland Joffé's developing "The Archbishop And The Antichrist."

The film, which should be a nice change of pace for Whitaker (who seems to be stuck in straight-to-DVD hell) is based on the play by Michael Ashton and is a fictionalized portrait of Tutu that follows his stint working for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he comes across a mass murderer named Piet Blomfeld who seeks redemption for his crimes. Promising indeed, and if anything, it will be nice to see Whitaker take on something of substance for a change. It's early days on the film, which is set up through Joffé's Lightmotives production house, and should it take a while to come together, the director as another project brewing as well.

Titled "In God We Trust," Joffé cryptically describes it as "a thriller about stealing a country, manipulating money but also about the desire to kill your parents -- sometimes those things go together.” Weighty fare it seems. Finally, remember his long brewing, troubled production of "Singularity" that was reportedly on the verge of never being completed? It seems there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

IF magazine reports that producers are planning to set aside their differences and come together to get the film finished by June 30th -- it's apparently 90% complete -- so that they can take advantage of government rebates that will allow them to pay the debts owed creditors that crippled portions of the shoot. Starring Josh Hartnett, Bipashu Basu and Neve Campbell, the film boasts an ambitious story, first taking place in 2020, centering on a modern day marine biologist Jay Fennel (Hartnett) who undertakes a near-fatal dive to save his wife Laura (Campbell) while exploring an 18th Century merchant ship wreckage. He winds up in a Boston hospital in a dream-like coma, where he envisions India in 1778 where British captain James Stewart (Hartnett, again) is about to embark on a dangerous mission and falls in love with a Marathi warrior named Tulaja Naik (Basu).

Should this film, which started shooting in late 2010, finally cross the finish the line, Joffé says it will be in the can by August or September, which means some kind of festival bow by year's end isn't entirely out of the question.

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