Whitaker, Biel sink into 'Blue' mood

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Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and Jessica Biel are set to star in the inspirational drama "Powder Blue."

"Blue" follows a suicidal ex-priest (Whitaker), a stripper (Biel) with a terminally ill son, an elderly ex-con seeking to reunite with his daughter and a lovelorn mortician whose lives intersect in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve. Timothy Linh Bui wrote and will direct the film, which begins shooting on location in July.

Whitaker will also produce with Linh Bui, Tracee Stanley-Newell and Eleven Eleven Films' Bobby Schwartz and Ross Dinerstein.

Executive producing are the Collective's Shaun Redick and Jeff Golenberg and QED International's Bill Block and Kimberly Fox. Their companies are selling North American and international rights, respectively, at Cannes. The indie will be produced by Eleven Eleven in association with Spirit Dance Entertainment and Grosvenor Park.

Linh Bui directed and co-wrote the 2001 Vietnamese refugee drama "Green Dragon," starring Patrick Swayze and Whitaker, who also served as an exec producer.

The busy Whitaker, a best actor Oscar winner for "The Last King of Scotland," has upcoming roles in "The Great Debaters," opposite actor-director Denzel Washington, for MGM/Weinstein Co., and "Vantage Point" for Columbia Pictures. He also will voice a character in "Where the Wild Things Are" for Warner Bros.

Whitaker served as a producer on "Chasing Papi" and director of "Waiting to Exhale," "Hope Floats" and "First Daughter."

Biel's credits include "The Illusionist," "Stealth," "Elizabethtown" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."

Eleven Eleven's upcoming production credits include Zak Penn's mockumentary "The Grand." The Collective management/production company reps the RKO studio library and clients including Martin Lawrence, Erika Christensen and Emile Hirsch.

Whitaker is repped by WMA and the Collective. Biel is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Karl Austen.
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