Colin Firth is set to star in “The Dead Wait,” a South Africa-set saga that spans the 20 years since the bloody Angolan war of 1983.Scripted by Paul Herzberg and helmed by Jens Meurer (“Public Enemy”), pic is due to roll in early 2004, with Sheryl Crown as producer. Project was unveiled here by Beyond Films’ head of sales and acquisitions Hilary Davis, who is fielding world rights. It’s a co-prod between Crown’s U.K.-based Rubicon Pictures, David Wicht of Film Afrika and Meurer’s Egoli Tossell Films of Germany. Firth will play a tough commanding officer in the South African army. Crown says casting is under way for the co-lead roles of a young recruit and a black character. London-based Mansfield Associates is exec producing.