Whitaker on Searchlight's 'Night' watch

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Forest Whitaker, fresh off his best actor Academy Award win for "The Last King of Scotland," is in final negotiations to reteam with Fox Searchlight for "The Night Watchman."

Based on an original idea by James Ellroy, "Night" centers on a veteran LAPD cop (Keanu Reeves) who turns to alcohol after the death of his wife. The cop is forced to go up against his longtime mentor (Whitaker) when he is implicated in the execution of a fellow officer. David Ayer, director of "Harsh Times" and the writer on "Training Day," will helm the project.

The film is being co-financed and co-produced by New Regency. Alexandra Milchan, Lucas Foster and Erwin Stoff are producing.

Fox Searchlight president of production Claudia Lewis, Regency president of filmed entertainment Sanford Panitch and Regency executive vp production Kara Francis will oversee the production, which is scheduled to begin May 21.

"Night" marks Whitaker's first project since his Oscar win. Next up for the actor is Sony Pictures' "Vantage Point," the voice of Wild Thing in Warner Bros. Pictures' "Where the Wild Things Are" and the indie feature "Winged Creatures."

Whitaker is repped by WMA and the Collective.
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