by: Madison Barnes
Reports indicate that Idris Elba has been offered a lead role in THE SHACK, and Oprah Winfrey is also circling to star. The film, already making headlines with Forest Whitaker’s attachment to direct and star, is a Christian novel by Wm. Paul Young that is a NY Times Bestseller.
The book was published in the summer of 2011 and became a surprise Christian hit, reinvigorating many middle-class faithfuls and promoting love and understanding through a renewed sense in God. The story centers on Mackenzie Allen Phillips after his youngest daughter is abducted on a family vacation. He finds evidence that she may have been brutally murdered in a shack, and after wallowing in depression for nearly four years, receives a note to return to the shack and face his demons. What he finds there ends up changing him forever, as he has some kind of mysterious meeting with God.
As a religious film it will definitely be controversial, and with such big-name talent it is sure to get huge press. All the actors so far mentioned are huge celebrities, and depending on how well the film is made, it may even become Oscar bait.
The budget is currently set at $30 million, and with Oprah or Idris Elba’s attachment could attract an even bigger budget. This is also Whitaker’s fourth time behind the camera, previously helming “Waiting to Exhale,” “Hope Floats,” and “First Daughter.” He currently has 3 other directing projects in the works.
The film is set up at Lionsgate with Gil Netter Productions also onboard. Gil and Brad Cummings are producing, along with Michael Paseornek, Matthew Janzen, and Bree Bailey for the studio. John Fusco and Tom Shadyac are working on the current version of the script, and shooting is supposed to start in the summer of 2014 in Atlanta or Vancouver.
Stay glued to the Tracking Board for all the latest updates to this hot project as it’s sure to blow up!