Fox Searchlight’s adaptation of Langston Hughes’ 1961 gospel musical Black Nativity — will start filming later this month with Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson and Jacob Latimore. 

Writer-director Kasi Lemmons (best known for Eve’s Bayou) is writing and directing the film. Black Nativity follows the story of Langston, a teenage boy from Baltimore, who is sent to Harlem to spend Christmas with grandparents he has never met. Through his grandfather’s Christmas Eve sermon, he learns the importance of faith and family.

Jennifer Hudson will play the mother who hasn’t spoken to her father since they had a falling out after she got pregnant. Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker will play the boy’s estranged grandparents, Rev. Clarence and Aretha Cobbs.

Black Nativity, which was first performed in 1961, is a retelling of the Bible’s nativity story with an all-black cast and features traditional Christmas carols sung in gospel style. It was one of the first plays written by an African-American to be staged on Broadway.

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