We missed this switch apparently… although I haven't seen an official announcement of it, nor any press releases in my inbox.
But, from available info, it looks like Forest Whitaker is replacing Djimon Hounsou to star alongside Orlando Bloom in French director Jérôme Salle's Zulu, which is based on French author Caryl Férey’s award winning crime novel of the same name.
Recapping… Set against the backdrop of post-apartheid South Africa, Whitaker (formerly Hounsou) and Bloom will play two South African police officers on opposing sides of the apartheid divide, who work together to fight crime.
Here's the film production company's description of the filmed version of the novel:
As a child, Ali Neuman narrowly escaped being murdered by Inkhata, a militant political party at war with Nelson Mandela's African National Congress. Only he and his mother survived the carnage of those years. But as with many survivors, the psychological scars remain. Today, Ali is chief of the homicide branch of the South African police in Cape Town. One of his staff is Brian Epkeen, a free-wheeling white officer whose family was originally involved in the establishment of apartheid but who works well with Neuman. Together they have to deal with crime that inevitably exists in sprawling areas of un -and under- employed people, crime exacerbated by gangs, both local and from other parts of Africa. Their job gets even more difficult when the corpses of two young women are found. A new evil has been introduced in the city and a new drug has been introduced to its residents, including both murder victims. At the chaotic crossroads where brutality and modernization collide, the echoes of apartheid still resound in the shadows of a society struggling toward reconciliation.
When this was first announced in February, Djimon was to play Ali Neuman, and Bloom, Brian Epkeen. Now Whitaker will play Ali Neuman.
Director Salle has has already penned the script adaptation with principal photography now scheduled to begin towards the end of this month, on location in Cape Town, South Africa.
Reviews of the novel I read online were all very strong. Tamara Brown, who alerted me to this casting change also wrote a Book-To-Film report on this project, which you can read HERE.