Forest Whitaker to play Louis Armstrong

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The Independent Culture

Repo Men star Forest Whitaker is planning a biopic of jazz great Louis Armstrong, called What a Wonderful Life.

Whitaker will portray the trumpet player and also direct the film. The story follows the legendary musician from birth in New Orleans to his death in New York in 1971.

Unlike a typical musical biopic, the actor hopes to contrast Armstrong's personal life and career. "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 magazine. He expects to go into production next April.

It could look something like Whitaker's portrayal of Charlie Parker in the 1988 film Bird, the Clint Eastwood film.

Four more films are coming from Whitaker this year including My Own Love Song with Renee Zellwegger at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Experiment, a prison story with Adrien Brody, and A Single Shot with William H. Macy and Michael Fassbinder.