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May 2003
©Blackflix.com™
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QUEEN LANDS $10 MILLION PAYCHECK

Queen Latifah of recent "Chicago" and "Bringing Down the House" fame is now looking to get a beauty of a paycheck. The Oscar-nominated actress has signed on to star in the "female version" of the boxoffice hit "Barbershop." Latifah will make an appearance in the upcoming "Barbershop" sequel, but will star in the femme spin-off "Beauty Shop," as the owner of the beauty shop next door to the barbershop. The singer-actress will pull down a cool $10 million paycheck for the role.



CHEADLE IN ASSASSINATION PLOT

Don Cheadle and Sean Penn are in negotiations to star in the flim "The Assassination of Richard Nixon." About the real life foiled plot to kill then president Nixon planned by a Philadelphia man named Sam Byck. The would-be assassin’s plan was to hijack a plane and fly it into the White House. Spooky considering how long before 9/11 the events unfolded. Penn would play Byck and Cheadle is being cast as his only friend.



SOLANGE AND BOW WOW TEAMING

Apparently, Beyonce’s little sister, Solange Knowles, is teaming with Bow Wow (you may remember her as the enamored extra in Bow Wow’s "Puppy Love" video) in a new movie. The two will play brother and sister in the film "Johnson Family Vacation," which also stars Cedric The Entertainer and Vanessa Williams as their parents. In the vein of the National Lampoon "Vacation" franchise, the Johnsons attempt to travel cross country, but run into a few problems along the way. The film is currently in production, and is expected to be in theaters later this year.



SMITH’S ROBOT FILM A GO

Well, we reported on this a few issues back, but Will Smith’s "I Robot" based on the Isaac Asimov novel of the same name is apparently a go, finally. Smith will be joined by Bridget Moynahan in the film. She will play the psychiatrist who helps a cop, played by Smith, investigate a robot homicide.



WHITAKER BACK IN DIRECTOR’S CHAIR

The host of UPN's "The Twilight Zone," actor-director Forest Whitaker, is about to put his director's hat back on. Whitaker will helm "First Daughter," the New Regency movie, set to start filming in mid-May. It’s planned as a lighthearted look at a boy-crazy, high-spirited coed who happens to be the daughter of the president -- and the Secret Service man she inadvertently falls in love with.



RED AND METH TOGETHER AGAIN

Redman and Method Man’s last screen outing was the weed comedy "How High." Now, writing team Jeff Dyson and Bennie Richburg have sealed a deal to write an as yet untitled comedy starring the duo for New Line Cinema. The project is being described as "The Producers" set in the music world.


SPIKE’S GOT MORE GAME

Spike Lee, who brought us the Denzel Washington flick "He Got Game," has signed a deal to direct an original film called "Sucker Free City," about two disadvantaged young men - one black, one white - who team up to pull off petty money-hustling schemes in San Francisco. The film is planned as the two-hour pilot for "The Game" Showtime series about various ethnic gangs in San Francisco.



P. DIDDY LOVING IN VAIN

After his role as Halle Berry's death row husband in "Monster's Ball," Sean P. Diddy Combs is set to take on another film. Combs will star as blues musician Robert Johnson in the HBO Films feature "Love in Vain." Directed by Tim Blake Nelson, the project will be shot on location in Mississippi starting in September. Johnson, the so-called "King of the Delta Blues," is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, even though he died at age 27 and recorded only 29 songs, including "Crossroads," "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom," "Sweet Home Chicago," "Terraplane Blues" and "Love in Vain." "Vain" will be Comb's third film. He also had a role in the comedy-drama "Made." Co-star Tim Blake Nelson says Combs will have to actually do his own singing. Apparently it was one of the preconditions for Combs getting the part. Says Nelson, "I didn't know he could sing, and he didn't either."



DUTTON TO BE THE MOOSE

Charles S. Dutton has been cast to play Montgomery County, MD police chief Charles Moose for the USA Network television movie "The Beltway" about last falls sniper attacks. No word yet when production starts.



FREEMAN SENTENCED TO LIFE

Morgan Freeman will star with Robert Redford and Jennifer Lopez in the film "An Unfinished Life." The film is about a single mother, to be played by Lopez, who moves in with her estranged father in law, to be played by Redford.



THE ROCK WALKING TALL

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will be joined by Neal McDonough for the film "Walking Tall." Johnson will reprise the lead role from the 1973 classic about a 2x4 wielding Tennessee sheriff out to rid his county of corruption. Production is set to begin in July.



DIESEL GETS WARSHIP

Vin Diesel has signed a deal to star in the upcoming sci-fi film "Dreadnaught." The action movie will be about a ruthless sea captain who risks mutiny on the high-tech warship. A production schedule is yet to be announced.



ANTWONE FISHER GOING FOR COMEDY

Rookie screen scribe Antwone Fisher is looking to the lighter side for his next project. The writer, who penned his own personal tale of triumph in the self-titled, Denzel-directed flick, has a yet untitled film in the works that’s described as "Big Daddy" meets "Problem Child," about a foster child and his unqualified caretaker. "Since everyone had such a big cry (with 'Antwone Fisher'), I want to give everyone a big laugh," Fisher said. We’ll wait and see if this one gets picked up. Fisher already had a comedy film lined up that was expected to star, Chris Tucker titled "00 Soul," but the project never found a studio willing to back it.



MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN A MYSTIC

Michael Clarke Duncan and Val Kilmer are lending their voices for the computer animated feature "Delgo." The film follows a troubled teenager who must save the world. Duncan will voice a mystical mentor and Kilmer a streetwise soldier who both help the boy along the way.



DMX: WEREWOLF HUNTER

The growling rapper-actor DMX is in negotiations to star in the action-thriller "Werewolf," to be helmed by Italian director Dario Piana. The movie has been described as similar to Wesley Snipes’ "Blade." DMX would play a bluesman trying to rid the earth of werewolves who live and feed among the rich and famous in the Hollywood Hills. Shooting should begin late this year in Montreal.



BORIS KODJOE A PLAYMAKER

"Soul Food" actor Boris Kodjoe is set to star in the feature film "The Playmaker" about a gifted football player who must deal with mistakes from his past. Omar Gooding, Michael Jai White and NFL players Terrell Owens, Jason Taylor, and NFL legend Jim Brown will also appear. "Playmaker" will be Kodjoe’s first leading role in a feature film. Principal photography started last month in New Orleans.



ERNIE HUDSON HALFWAY DECENT

Actor Ernie Hudson’s time on "Oz" is over, but he’s happily working. Hudson says he recently did a pilot for Aaron Spelling and ABC and finished work on an indie film titled "Halfway Decent." No word yet on when the film will be released.



LOUIS GOSSETT, JR. A MAYOR

In June 1998, in the small town of Jasper, Texas, a man by the name of James Byrd, Jr. was chained to the back of a pick up truck and dragged to his death. It’s been almost five years since the racially motivated incident and in observance, Showtime will premiere the original movie, "Jasper, Texas" on June 8. The film explores the background and aftermath surrounding the hate-crime, and stars Louis Gossett, Jr., Bokeem Woodbine, Jon Voight, and Joe Morton. Gossett plays RC Horn, Jasper’s first black mayor and Voight stars as the town’s white sheriff.



ANGELA BASSETT STEPS TO THE PLATE

Angela Bassett will star in the new Disney baseball comedy "Mr. 3000." Bernie Mac is also on board, as well as "Drumline" director Charles Stone. The film is about a retired baseball player who returns to the game when he finds that his 3,000-hit record is lost due to a technicality. Bassett will star as a reporter and Mac’s love interest.



LL COOL J AND LIOTTA PLAY IT SLOW

Ray Liotta and James Todd Smith - better known as rapper LL Cool J - have signed to star in the thriller "Slow Burn." The film follows a politically ambitious DA (Liotta) being manipulated by a beautiful assistant DA and an enigmatic stranger (LL Cool J) as he engages in a 24-hour showdown with a powerful gang leader. The female lead has yet to be cast. The film is slated to go into production this summer.



EVE IN THE WOODS

We reported in an earlier issue about "The Woodsman," but now it seems the indie film by Lee Daniels Entertainment, the production company behind the Oscar-winning "Monster's Ball," is finally getting off the ground. Rapper-actress Eve, Benjamin Bratt and Kyra Sedgwick are all in negotiations to star opposite Kevin Bacon in this look at a man (Bacon) who returns to his hometown after 12 years in prison. He tries to start a new life working at a power plant as he struggles with his personal demons and resist the temptation of his past crimes of pedophilia. Production began last month in Philadelphia, with David Alan Grier and Michael Shannon also starring.