Long-gestating project gains traction with new leading man.

Writer/director Kasi Lemmons has nabbed Forest Whitaker (‘The Last King of Scotland’) for her long-in-development gospel musical ‘Black Nativity.’

Co-starring Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson (‘Dreamgirls’) in a story of “a young black teen from Baltimore who is sent by his single mother to Harlem to spend Christmas with the grandparents he’s never met. Through his grandfather’s Christmas Eve sermon and a stylized, dream-sequence retelling of the classic Nativity story, he learns about the importance of faith and family.”

Blackfilm.com reports that Whitaker will take the role of the boy’s estranged grandfather; a role previously linked to Samuel L. Jackson. As reported back in July, Bassett will play the boy’s grandmother, with Hudson playing the mother. Also joining the cast will be Tyrese Gibson (‘Fast & Furious’).