It looked like Black Nativity was done for. Earlier this year ts seemed Samuel L. Jackson was set to step into the lead, but when a deal couldn’t be made, production was delayed indefinitely and it appeared the film might be dead. However now news comes, via BlackFilm, that Forest Whitaker will join Angela Basset, and Jennifer Hudson in director Kasi Lemmons’ film.
The story is adapted from the Langston Hughes libretto that was turned into a Broadway gospel musical in 1961. It’s about a Baltimore teenage boy who is sent to Harlem to spend Christmas with the grandparents he never met. hrough his grandfather’s Christmas Eve sermon and a stylised, dream-sequence retelling of the classic Nativity story, he learns about the importance of faith and family.
Whitaker and Bassett are set to play the estranged grandparents, Rev. Clarence and Aretha Cobbs. Hudson will be the boy’s mother, who hasn’t spoken to her father since they had a falling out after she got pregnant. Whitaker will likely play multiple characters during the Nativity sequence.
Kasi Lemmons will direct from her own adapted screenplay, with production kicking off in January.