Freeman up for jazz biopic

Morgan will play legendary band leader Duke Ellington

Morgan Freeman will be slipping into Duke Ellington’s sharp suits to play the music legend in The Jazz Ambassadors.

The script covers the Ellington orchestra's tour of Iraq during a 1963 CIA-led coup that would eventually pave the way for Saddam Hussein's rise to power. Hmm… political! Jeremy Donner will pen the script, and Freeman’s taking a producer role.

New Line has snapped up the pitch script for Antoine “King Arthur” Fuqua to direct. He’d better hope his luck improves: since King Arthur opened to decidedly middling business, he’s had trouble locking down a film directing job. American Gangster, which he was planning to helm with his Training Day star Denzel Washington fell apart over budget. Under And Alone, a drama planned for Mel Gibson, went under when Mr Mel chose to grow a big straggly beard and instead concentrate on films about ancient peoples.

He hasn’t been sitting around, though – he’s directed several music videos and commercials to keep his hand in and has just completed a high-concept drama pilot, Kidnapped, for the US Fox network. Before he kicks off the Ellington film, he’ll direct By Any Means Necessary, about a cop pumping a jailed mobster for info on a terrorist attack…