The Mummy star Arnold Vosloo is to return to his native South Africa to star in Forgiveness, which is written by prolific scribe Greg Latter (Mr. Bones) and to be directed by acclaimed commercials director Ian Gabriel.

The film is the second to come out of South Africa's Dv8 initiative, which is developing and producing 12 digital features over the next three years and is backed by leading South African institutions.

The casting coup marks the return of Vosloo to South African cinema since his last South African produced film Circles In A Forest in the early 1980s. After that he went to America where he established himself as a strong character actor landing prime antagonist roles in films such as Ridley Scott's 1492: Conquest of Paradise, John Woo's Hard Target, and, memorably, in Stephen Sommer's blockbuster series The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.

In Forgiveness he will take a heft pay-cut for the $528,000 (R4m) film to play anti-hero Tertius Coetzee, a former Apartheid policeman, psychologically tormented by the atrocities he committed in his past. His journey into the small town of Paternoster is the catalyst for a cathartic re-birth for the family of one of his victims and triggers a ferocious road-trip for three comrades bent on revenge whose members where amongst his victims.

Director Gabriel says the film will be told as a generic Western set in contemporary South Africa, "The night after we sent the script to Arnold he called me from LA to say he'd commit immediately to the project and saw this as a great opportunity to get his teeth into a role that has range, substance and passion."

Jeremy Nathan and Joel Phiri, executive producers of Dv8, said: "It is wonderful to have Arnold on board the film and gives it international clout. With Greg's compelling script and Ian's strong visual approach, we welcome an actor of Arnold's caliber and status back home."

The film will feature many of South Africa's best-known television talent including Zane Meas and Lionel Newton (Les Blair's Jump The Gun) and will be shot by Giulio Biccarri (Second Skin, Pavement, Blast, Promised Land), the country's leading cinematographer.

Meanwhile the first of the DV8 films - Teddy Mattera's King Of Tears - wraps at the end of this week. The major partners of the Dv8 project are financial powerhouse Rand Merchant Bank, the National Film and Video Foundation, local broadcaster SABC2 and local distributor Ster-Kinekor. Berlin and Zurich based sales agency First Hand Films will handle the international sales.