Shooting officially began today in Cape Town, South Africa, on the Forest Whitaker/Orlando Bloom crime drama Zulu, which is based on French author Caryl Férey’s award winning crime novel of the same name.
The film is being directed by French helmer Jérôme Salle – his first film in English.
Recapping… Set against the backdrop of post-apartheid South Africa, Whitaker (in a role that was initially assigned to Djimon 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 is directing from his own script adaptation of a novel that has been reviewed fairly well. A few months ago, Tamara Brown wrote a Book-To-Film report on this project for S&A, which you can read HERE.
The film is a French/English/South African co-production by Pathé, M6 Films, and Lobster Film.
French film composer Alexandre Desplat working on the soundtrack. Desplat has received four Academy Award nominations, five BAFTA nominations, five Golden Globe nominations, and two Grammy nominations. Among various projects, Desplat has worked on a variety of Hollywood films including independent and commercial successes like The Queen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moorise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, The King’s Speech, and many others.
Shooting started today, and will end on December 6.