Twenty-two years after his Cannes award-winning turn as Charlie Parker in the Clint Eastwood-directed biopic Bird, Forest Whitaker is gearing up to play another jazz great: Louis Armstrong. Just as Don Cheadle is plotting to direct and star in an upcoming Miles Davis biopic, Whitaker will perform double duty as the star and director of the film, currently-titled What A Wonderful Life, which is tentatively set to begin filming in the spring of next year.
“It covers his whole life but more from a myth point of view – it’s told as two different myths of the same person,” Whitaker told Empire. “I didn’t know anything about Louis Armstrong’s life until I started working on the piece. I just knew some of his songs – mostly his pop songs [because] in a way he became a pop star.”
There’s no word yet on who will be taking on music supervising duties, but Whitaker was the executive producer on his three previous directorial efforts, so perhaps he’ll work closely in that department once again. If not, I nominate the jazz biopic go-to man, Herbie Hancock, for the job.