Oscar winning actor Forest Whitaker has announced plans to direct and star in a film based on the life of New Orleans jazz legend Louis Armstrong. The biopic, titled “What a Wonderful World” is scheduled to begin shooting in Louisiana in the summer. Entertainment industry magazine Variety reports that the film will be the first bigscreen project authorized by the Armstrong estate. Oscar Cohen, executive of the Armstrong estate and the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, will be a co-producer and is granting filmmakers exclusive access to personal letters and other material within the family estate.
Whitaker won the Best Actor Oscar in 2007 for his role as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” He has directed four films, including “Hope Floats” and “First Daughter.” Armstrong will be the second jazz legend Whitaker brings to life on the big screen; he portrayed saxophonist and bebop pioneer Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood’s 1988 film “Bird.”