Forest Whitaker
Forest Whitaker

Saban Films has acquired North American distribution rights to Roland Joffé’s “The Forgiven,” starring Forest Whitaker and Eric Bana.

Co-written by Joffé and Michael Ashton and based on Ashton’s play “The Archbishop and The Antichrist,” the drama follows Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s (Whitaker) work as President of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-apartheid South Africa, and his struggle with a brutal murderer Piet Blomfeld (Bana) over concession and redemption. The film is currently in production.

Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley said: “The depth in ‘The Forgiven’ is unnerving, something Roland Joffé is known for. Whitaker and Bana’s history of prestigious dramatic roles is something we know will translate into this film, they are experts within the genre and we’re eager to see their characters transform on-screen.”

“Archbishop Tutu’s story is poignant and timely,” added producers Craig Baumgarten and Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat. “It reminds us of his gift of forgiveness and the healing it brings, and we are honored to tell this story.”

Joffé produced the film alongside Link Entertainment’s Craig Baumgarten and Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat of Light & Dark Films, with financing being provided by The Fyzz Facility. Bill Bromiley negotiated the deal on behalf of Saban Films. WME Global handled North American rights, with 13 Films handling international at the upcoming American Film Market. Kim Ashton, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones, John R. Sherman, Tannaz Anisi, Greg Schenz, Jeff Gum, Jeff Rice, Lee Broda executive produced.

Saban Films most recently acquired Sean Penn’s “The Last Face” starring Penn, Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem, and Jonathan Mostow’s “The Hunter’s Prayer” starring Sam Worthington and newcomer Odeya Rush at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Saban Films’ slate also includes: Colm McCarthy’s apocalyptic thriller “The Girl with All the Gifts” which made its North American Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and stars Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine; Walter Hill’s “The Assignment,” which also made its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and starring Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub, Anthony LaPaglia; Zack Whedon’s feature debut “Come and Find Me” starring Aaron Paul and Annabelle Wallis; and John Michael McDonagh’s “War on Everyone” starring Michael Peña, Alexander Skarsgård, Theo James, and Tessa Thompson.

Since the company’s launch in 2014, Saban Films has released “The Homesman” starring Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank; “Tracers” starring Taylor Lautner; Philip Martin’s “The Forger” starring John Travolta; “American Heist” starring Hayden Christensen and Adrien Brody; “Some Kind of Beautiful” starring Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek and Jessica Alba; “Man Up” starring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell; “MI-5” starring Kit Harington; Alex and Benjamin Brewer’s “The Trust” starring Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood; Tom Tykwer’s “A Hologram for the King” starring Tom Hanks; sci-fi horror film “Cell” starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson; “I Am Wrath” with John Travolta; Renny Harlin’s action comedy “Skiptrace,” starring Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville; and Rob Zombie’s “31.”