From our brothers at The Playlist, who talked with Forest Whitaker yesterday at the Marrakech Film Festival (damn, I wish I was there) where the actor is onhand to be honored with a career achievement award:
… the actor/director told us he’s finally set to warm up his director’s chair again, with not one, but three different projects on his dance card, including one he previously hadn’t revealed. Whitaker told us that he’s planning on spending much of next year directing a project that deals with an issue close to his heart. “I’m gonna direct a movie next year called ‘Better Angels,’ which deals with child soldiers in the north of Uganda, and a conflict journalist who enters into this camp. We should be going into pre-production on that in April.” What’s more, he’ll also be taking the lead role as well telling us, “This’ll be the first time I act and direct, the things I’ve directed, I’ve never even done a cameo.”[…] “This story is very personal to me,” the actor/director says. “I play a conflict journalist in the film, who’s constantly recording and filming things, and it seems like a good mesh for me to take that walk, so it’s ok for me to be aware of the camera. I’ll be filming inside the film, I’ll have a camera in my hand, filming what’s in front of me.”
So, I’ll expect some hand-held, shaky-cam documentary-style footage here…
Anyway… I’ll be frank and say that I’ve grown weary of these morbid tales of African *malaise* in Africa. Yes, I know these stories are based on real-life occurrences, and certainly deserve all the shine they can get, if only to help spread awareness of the issues they tackle; however, I can’t help but be fatigued by them. That’s why a film like Viva Riva! was such a hit amongst Africans – especially Africans outside of Africa.
I continue to refer to Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk, The danger of a single story.
Some variety would be nice; films about just plain old regular boring Africans like me, who work in the world of technology and run black cinema websites, have relationships, pets at home, read Lawrence Block crime fiction novels, and eat sushi.
But I get it… it’s a personal story to Whitaker, and one that he obviously is driven to tell. I can only hope he chooses to tell the story in some really fresh, engaging way that we haven’t already seen. So, go ahead Forest. Run with it… I just don’t know if I’ll be in any rush to see it whenever it’s released.
Read the rest of the story at The Playlist.