Tyrese, Nas and Luke James Join Black Nativity Cast

Production of Christmas musical back on track.

Posted: 01/30/2013 09:00 AM EST

Tyrese Gibson, Luke James, rap icon Nas and singer Jacob Latimore have been added to the cast of Kasi Lemmons' musical Black Nativity. Shadow and Act reports the project, after being put on hiatus, is currently back in production. Reportedly, the reason for the delay was because no actor had been cast in the lead male role.

Initially, Samuel L. Jackson was interested as was Laurence Fishburne and several other Black actors. All reportedly passed on the project. The actor filling the lead role as Jennifer Hudson’s father would have to sing. Forest Whitaker eventually signed on for the part. Angela Bassett also joined the cast to star as Hudson’s mother (and Whitaker's wife).

Lemmons will direct from her own screenplay, and Raphael Saadiq is writing the music for the project. No reports yet on what actors Tyrese, Nas, James and Latimore will be playing in the film.

Also, no word yet on whether there will be changes made to the film’s story. When reports of the production first surfaced in 2009, the film — based on Langston Hughes' Broadway gospel musical — centered on a young Black teen from Baltimore, who is sent to Harlem by his mother to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged grandparents. Once there, he learns the real meaning of faith and family. Shooting for Black Nativity has begun in New York City.

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(Photos from left: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images,Kevin Winter/Getty Images,Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

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