He may not be a fan of the United States government, but Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is apparently a fan of American movie stars. The radical leader, along with the Venezuelan congress and the new government-funded studio Villa del Cine, brought in Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover to direct his biopic on Toussaint Louverture, the Latin American icon who led the 1791 Haitian slave revolt, which kicked off the former French colony's revolution and subsequent independence. Glover actually announced the project at Cannes last year, but at that time he was planning to shoot in South Africa. Now that Chávez has become involved, Glover is receiving a budget of about $18 million, co-financed by Venezuela and Argentina, and the production has moved to Caracas. The film should be a monumental boost for Venezuelan cinema, which has finally been growing in notice thanks to 2005's Secuestro Express.

Glover was already a supporter of Chávez before this new arrangement and he seems excited about the opportunity. The actor and political activist feels the story of Toussaint, which is what his film will be titled, deserves to be seen by Americans. The Haitian revolution is a part of history the U.S. has been ignorant of for 200 years, mainly because at the time the Caribbean nation's independence frightened American politicians worried about similar action occurring with slaves in the States. Plenty of American viewers should be intrigued by the film, which boasts one of the most impressive casts of black actors I've ever seen: Don Cheadle, who will play the title character; Angela Bassett, who will play his wife; Chiwetel Ejiofor; Mos Def; Isaac De Bankolé; and according to the original report, though not listed on IMDb, Wesley Snipes.

The Venezuelan congress will also be financing other historical epics celebrating Latin American figures. The General in His Labyrinth, based on the 1989 novel by Gabriel García Márquez, will tell of the final seven months in the life of Simón Bolívar, after he resigned from his position as President of The Republic of Colombia (aka Gran Colombia, which included the territory that is now Venezuela). There is also currently in production a film about Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda.
CATEGORIES Cinematical