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Philippe Niang’s “Toussaint L’Ouverture” Stars Jimmy Jean-Louis, Aïssa Maïga, Sonia Rolland

Philippe Niang's "Toussaint L'Ouverture" Stars Jimmy Jean-Louis, Aïssa Maïga, Sonia Rolland

Just last month, Shadow and Act’s own Tambay spoke with actor/activist Danny Glover about the possibility of Glover bringing to fruition his idea for a film based upon the life and exploits of Haitian revolutionist Toussaint L’Ouverture. Glover discussed the difficulty that came with such subject matter, saying, “You don’t want to hear those stories man… the stories I could write a book on… just on the process of trying to make a film about the Haitian revolution; but the project is still alive.” Knowing what we do about Hollywood, there’s no surprise there.

I was delightfully surprised, however, to learn about an upcoming film production on L’Ouverture, from French network France 2 and director Philippe Niang, simply titled Toussaint L’Ouverture.

The two-part TV-movie features performances from Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes, Moloch Tropical), in the lead role, as well as from French actresses Aïssa Maïga (Paris, Je T’Aime, Bamako) and Sonia Rolland (Moloch Tropical, Midnight In Paris).

In the network’s ambitious production, Maïga will be playing the role of L’Ouverture’s wife, Suzanne, while Rolland will co-star as Marie-Eugénie Sonthonax, wife of abolitionist L.F. Sonthonax.

Filmed on-location in Martinique earlier this year, Toussaint L’Ouverture is scheduled to air on French television sometime in 2012. Let’s hope there’s an opportunity for those of us not residing in France to check it out on DVD someday.


Pictured above: Philippe Niang, director.

Below is some footage I found of the film, plus some interviews with its director and star (sorry, no subtitles for our non-French speaking readers):

Question: With France 2 and Niang having already tackled the subject matter, and given Hollywood’s penchant for copying most anything that works, do you think it’s now more likely that Glover’s L’Ouverture project will gain the industry interest and support he seeks? Or could this French production have the opposite effect on any plans for a future version?

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