With Idi Amin ("The Last King Of Scotland") and Cecil Gaines aka Eugene Allen ("Lee Daniels' The Butler") under his belt, and a role as Martin Luther King Jr. slotted in Paul Greengrass' "Memphis" if/when that ever gets made, Forest Whitaker has carved out a tidy niche playing historical figures. Now he's lining up another role, this time taking on someone who's still very much alive and kicking.
Somewhat buried in Variety's list of 10 Brits to Watch is this news that Whitaker will take the title role in a brewing film about former U.S. Secretary Of State and dedicated military man, Colin Powell. The script comes from Ed Whitworth, whose script for "Reyjavik," about the 1986 Reykjavik summit meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, has already attracted Michael Douglas and Christoph Waltz for the lead roles in that film. So clearly Whitworth has a firm hand in tackling unique moments in history, and his Powell flick will be no different.
Rather than tell his life story, "Powell" will zero in on "the behind-the-scenes story of how the then-Secretary of State addressed the U.N. and made the case for war in Iraq" which of course leaned on the suggestion that Iraq was hoarding weapons of mass destruction. Potentially powerful stuff, and Whitworth has another movie brewing that's ripped from even more recent headlines.
Apparently, he's got a project brewing about "a leading figure of the Arab Spring" and in addition to that, an MI6 spy drama with Colin Firth attached. No further details on either of those projects yet, but it looks Whitworth is turning heads in all the right places and is certainly well on the rise.